Letters to the Editor

City Council undercuts preservation prospects

I was disappointed by Beaufort City Council's performance during the April 24 session, which resulted in the council voting to approve an ordinance rezoning two additional lots into the Bladen Street Design District.

In the face of strong public support for the Historic Beaufort Foundation's opposition to this measure, City Council unanimously approved changes in city ordinances that will cut the Historic Review Board from the design approval process for any building on those lots, as well as in the entire Bladen Street District.

Despite spirited public opposition, the council felt it better understood the interests of the people with regard to this encroachment on Beaufort's Historic District and the future roles of the Historic Review Board and the Historic Beaufort Foundation in protecting the historic fabric of the town.

The council appeared to overlook the point expressed by nearly all speakers that the character of Beaufort was threatened by removing the Historic Review Board from the planning and approval process in the Historic District.

While in fairness these are complicated issues of long standing, the apparent lack of respect for the articulated desires of the people to forestall this rezoning initiative raises questions about the responsiveness of our elected officials. The erosion of public trust in City Council engendered by these proceedings will only make it more difficult to address the other challenges facing the city.

Peter J. Hussey