Residents and Redevelopment Commission members made one thing clear Thursday night: There's still room to improve a plan outlining how Beaufort should grow over the next 100 years.
The city's proposed Civic Master Plan has been discussed and edited repeatedly as officials, planners and residents prepare it for possible adoption.
"The goal in this plan is to show what is possible and what is appropriate for our community," said consultant Craig Lewis of the architectural and engineering firm The Lawrence Group.
The plan includes development of vacant and key properties, road and transportation changes, access to water, stormwater needs, parks and areas where economic development should be focused on.
Residents have raised concerns about errors in maps and specific development projects, and planners with the city's Office of Civic Investment have been making changes.
Among the concerns Thursday night from both commissioner Alan Dechovitz and resident Don Starkey was a need for the plan and its overarching goals to be more clear and concise so residents understand it.
"A lot of people won't go through the 294 pages of that document and it's important that they understand it," Starkey said. "...We've got to summarize this for the people in the community."
Much discussion centered around how the plan and the state-mandated Comprehensive Plan work together. Lewis said the Civic Master Plan creates more specific plans for areas and projects than the Comprehensive Plan.
Local attorney David Tedder said the plans need to be congruent to avoid problems in the future.
He is also concerned some of the goals in the Civic Master Plan might not be practical or feasible, such as the narrowing of roads. He proposed the city do tests, using traffic cones, to see how drivers react.
Commission chairman Jon Verity said he thought that was a practical idea.
Additional issues included stormwater maintenance, development plans for areas to the west of the city's core, access to Battery Creek, treatment of the historic district and the overall effect of the plan on the character of Beaufort.
Historic Beaufort Foundation executive director Maxine Lutz and consultant Cynthia Jenkins both read passages from the Civic Master Plan they found confusing. They said they are working on a long list of issues and will submit it to the city for consideration.
"I just kept thinking sloppy, sloppy, sloppy," Lutz said. "I really think it is a flawed document."
Verity said his panel will probably vote on it in October, after additional revisions.
The Metropolitan Planning Commission is expected to discuss the plan at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 16, and is also expected to vote in October.
Both commissions' recommendations will be considered by City Council. A public hearing is set for Oct. 8, and the plan could come up for a first council vote Oct. 24. Two votes are needed for adoption.
Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.
- Questions persist on Beaufort's Civic Master Plan, Aug. 22, 2013
- Most recent Beaufort Civic Master Plan ready for public review, Aug. 5, 2013
- Series of public workshops on Beaufort Civic Master Plan wraps up, May 1, 2013
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Civic Master Plan draft of Aug. 5, 2013
Civic Master Plan Public Comments and Running Edits Aug. 22, 2013