Sometimes it's a good idea to quit looking at the vista long enough to make sure you're on the right pathway to reach it.
In that vein, the city of Beaufort should confirm that its zoning, design and landscaping requirements for the rejuvenation of Boundary Street are a help and not a hindrance to the healthy business and civic climate the city wants.
A public session to review specific requirements would be an appropriate response to a long list of concerns taken this month to Beaufort's Redevelopment Commission by a major developer.
The city should not capitulate to everyone who has concerns about regulations.
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But it can explain the logic, hopes and dreams behind its regulations. And in the process it may change things because the real world can clash with the more theoretical world of planners.
A couple of instances raised by a developer trying to bring new businesses to Boundary Street need to be explained.
Dick Stewart, whose 303 Associates firm has done much to add vitality to the Beaufort economy, wonders why it is required that two-story buildings face Boundary Street. It adds to the cost of construction. And some businesses -- from national franchisers to local mom-and-pops -- can find that cost-prohibitive.
The same holds true for a requirement that the facade on buildings facing the road be 75 percent glass.
We see a difference between such meticulous regulation of design and regulations to save trees or protect waterways. For instance, when a developer objected to a plan that would save a tree but cut out two parking spaces, we sided with the tree.
In all these issues, the question that needs to be answered is "why?" Why require a second floor that is not needed, wanted or used? Why 75 percent glass? Why protect a tree?
The regulations are no doubt designed to promote a desired feel or look.
As Boundary Street plans move from desires to reality, and as the city moves toward a new method of zoning, the thinking behind all requirements should be constantly reviewed, defended and weighed against real-world concerns. Only then can a true cost-and-benefit analysis be made.