More citizen involvement sought for review of Beaufort's form-based code

Concerns continue to grow by some in Beaufort's community over how much change could be allowed to new building in our historic town under the new set of building codes.

The planned citizen, government, and business review group that is to review the new form-based code has seen pushback from those in the community with interest and ties to the historic zone. Some 200 locals have signed on to a petition calling for increased preservationist and citizen participation.

The Island Packet wrote about the proposed revision to the review (read that here) and you can read the original May 25 release about the call for input below.

Beaufort seeks volunteers to roll up sleeves on form-based code

Knowledgeable volunteers are needed to review and critique Beaufort's new Form-Based Code, an in-depth guide to how the historic city should develop over the next century. The committee will be formed by mid-June with work expected to start in August.

The hands-on, line-by-line review of the 400-page document will ensure the document "fits" Beaufort, said Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling.

"What we're doing is 'Beaufortizing' the code so it fits and protects what we have while taking our hometown to the next level of excellence," he said. "Those before us worked very hard to create and protect our history, our natural resources, our scenery and scenic vistas. We need to be sure the Form-Based Code we put into place recognizes and celebrates those elements."

Members of the Beaufort Form-Based Code Advisory Committee will be asked to:

  • · Ensure that the draft document is easily understood by all user groups and contains the right balance of content and layout to make it user-friendly
  • · Review and recommend an appropriate development review process to streamline the process while ensuring adequate protections
  • · Properly calibrate and coordinate the code with the recommended regulatory plans and strategies in the Civic Master Plan, Comprehensive Plan, the Historic Preservation Plan, and any other relevant adopted plan or policy.

Qualified members should be willing be meet twice a month and ideally will have technical expertise or strong interest in the development process, code standards and/or design, and be able to build consensus. Committee members are required to be Beaufort residents.

All interested individuals should submit an application to the City Clerk or the Beaufort Planning Department by June 15. Applications are available at www.cityofbeaufort.org under Boards and Commissions.

"Ideally, the advisory committee will be comprised of a balanced group of 12-16 key stakeholders who are intimately involved in the development process, including both technicians such as designers and engineers as well as citizen leaders and board volunteers," said Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling.

At a minimum, the committee likely will include representation from the following groups:

  • ·Beaufort-Port Royal Metropolitan Planning Commission – 2 members
  • Design Review Board – 1 member
  • Zoning Board of Appeals – 1 member
  • Historic District Review Board /Historic Beaufort Foundation – 2 members
  • City Council – 1-2 members
  • Redevelopment Commission – 1-2 members
  • Area developers/builders – 2-4 members
  • Others (local designers, active neighborhood leaders, etc) – 2 members

Committee members will be asked to review the draft ordinance, section by section and in some cases line by line. "It can be a tedious review process but is completely necessary so that everyone is comfortable with the approach," said Craig Lewis of Beaufort's Office of Civic Investment and the Lawrence Group.

Members will be asked to come to committee meetings having read and reviewed the sections in advance so that the committee can move through sections faster. 

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