New vision: Beaufort council approves Civic Master Plan

emoody@beaufortgazette.comFebruary 11, 2014 

An image from the Oct. 18, 2013, draft of the Beaufort Civic Master Plan.


  • In other business, council:

  • discussed taking ownership of a road through a proposed development at the intersection of Parris Island Gateway and Trask Parkway.

  • met in closed-door session to discussion property acquisition. No further information was provided.

  • discussed amending the 2014 fiscal year budget to reflect the sale of a 1999 ladder firetruck, with the city receiving $281,590 from the sale.

  • granted final approval giving 905 and 907 Prince Street to The Baptist Church of Beaufort as part of a land swap.

  • granted initial approval to the annexation and rezoning of three properties on Greenlawn Drive.

  • granted initial approval to rezoning five properties on the southern half of the 1000 block of Craven Street.

  • granted initial approval to changes to ordinances regarding height restrictions for buildings in the Boundary Street Redevelopment District.

A Civic Master Plan outlining a vision of how the city of Beaufort could grow and develop during the next century was approved Tuesday night on a 4-to-1 town council vote.

Councilman George O'Kelley Jr. was the lone vote against it.

The plan outlines development of vacant and important properties; road and transportation changes; access to water; stormwater needs; parks; and areas targeted for economic development.

No councilmember supported adding the Seven Integrities for Historic Preservation the Historic Beaufort Foundation and preservationists lobbied for.

Foundation executive director Maxine Lutz cautioned council her organization will not support the plan without those integrities.

Several people, including city Redevelopment Commission chairman Jon Verity, consultant Craig Lewis and Councilman Mike McFee said the integrities are best suited for other city documents that deal with building in the historic district.

O'Kelley has repeatedly voiced reservations about parts of the civic plan, and made motions for four sections to be removed -- the Beaufort Downtown Marina parking lot development, the so-called Belt Buckle park on Boundary Street, images of development on the Salzer tract and Horse Trough Park.

No other council members supported those motions.

"I know this plan is called conceptual, and I know you said before I was taking broad swipes, and I'm not taking broad swipes now. I've got a sniper rifle," O'Kelley said of his lasering in on those four issues.

A number of residents were upset about plans for the marina parking lot. The city has an agreement with developers to come up with a plan for building commercial and residential buildings there.

"Take your foot off the accelerator pedal and put it on the brake of this runaway train when it comes to development of the marina area," former mayor David Taub said.

"There's a lot of folks who believe you've violated your covenant with them," Taub told council members.

Several residents supported Taub on that request.

They also favored adding the Seven Integrities to the master plan as a way of "bridging the gap between the city and the residents," resident Paul Michau said.

However, a number of residents supported the master plan, believing it will boost economic development and opportunity.

"If you don't pass it and try to keep on fine tuning it, we'll never know how great Beaufort can be," David Bowie said.

The plan might not be perfect, the supporters said, but it's time to move forward.

"I don't agree with the all the planning y'all have done, but if you don't start here, you aren't going to get anywhere," Phil Newsome said.

The document will be used in conjunction with city ordinances, zoning and master plans to guide project development. Officials have repeatedly said the plan can be edited by council as needed.

"I think I've never worked on anything this complicated, and when you're trying to please a whole city, a whole county, you're never going to do that," Councilwoman Donnie Beer said

Follow reporter Erin Moody

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