I have followed with interest the Southern Beaufort County Corridor Review Board's discussions about the design for the Olive Garden restaurant at Tanger Outlet Center 1 and letters criticizing the board's concerns over materials appropriate to the Lowcountry.
Beaufort County is a unique place. A great deal of this uniqueness can be attributed to the visual environment it presents to all who choose to live and visit here. Much of this visual character is a result of the design forms, materials and colors one experiences. This uniqueness of place has attracted about 4,500 new residents and more than 2 million visitors every year. If it were not for the untiring efforts of our review boards, our very special place could become anywhere U.S.A. as a result of the visual pollution brought by the sameness of corporate architecture.
Just as wood siding, tabby stucco and tin roofs would be out of character in Tuscany, stones and tile roofs are not indigenous to the Lowcountry. If visitors to Tuscany were presented with the visual character found in their hometowns, I doubt they would return.
People come here for our amazing sense of place and are willing to work hard for its preservation. Olive Garden should do the same.
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As to the "credentials" of the board members, they have a combined 100-plus years of professional design experience and have lived here most of their lives. They are well-qualified to work for the preservation of this very special place.