Mayor Billy K: The 'time is now' to plan Beaufort's future

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In his weekly email newsletter Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling puts out a call to the city's residents to take advantage of this opportunity to participate in the future planning of the city through the new Office of Civic Investment.

That opportunity heightens this week with the arrival of a design team that will pen visions of what Beaufort's downtown neighborhoods should look like.

"It is your town, and you now have an opportunity to participate in planning its future," Keyserling says in his newsletter.

Along with the mayor's newsletter there is a press release outlining the this week's efforts and schedule. The basics that you need to know is that if you're not invited to one of the planning groups, then you are invited to attend public sessions in the design stuido, which is at 209 Charles Street. The design studio will be open to the public from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday  through Friday.

A final presentation of what comes out of this week will be made at 7 p.m. Monday, March 28 at City Hall.

This first week's session will focus on "Sector 1, which includes Beaufort's historic district (downtown, The Point, Northwest Quadrant, The Old Commons and The Bluff neighborhoods); Pigeon Point; Uptown Beaufort along the easternmost Boundary Street Corridor; Higginsonville and Whitehall (on Lady's Island)," according to the city's release.

A full schedule of the week's charette can be found here. And some other good linkage can be found over at the Office of Civic Investment's website.

As for the press releases. Well we'll just paste them below and let you make heads or tails of them yourself.

First the mayor's newsletter:

When the City released the
City's state-mandated ten year comprehensive plan about two years ago,
many who did not participate in the workshops and/or charettes were surprsed by
parts of the plan that could touch their lives or affect the character of their
neighborhoods. Some were pleased with what they saw; others were not.

In response to those concerns,
and through my basic belief in civic engagement,  I assured all
that when we took the next step toward implementing the plan -- for improving
the city, block by block, and neighborhood by neighborhood, there would be
time for everyone to be heard. 

A few weeks ago I sent out a
notice that the process was beginning and the initial focus would be on what is
called Sector 1, which is defined as the area boundaried from Ribaut
Road to the West to the Beaufort River to the East and from the Beaufort River
from the South to the Beaufort River to the North.

Over the past three weeks there
have been meetings to talk about what residents like, do not like, and
offer suggestions about ways to improve those features of our city that
affected them. Over two hundrd people participated in the process to date.
While that is a sizeable number, as a percentage of the city it is very small.

During the next week, there will
be more opportunities to talk with planners and implementers.  Please find
the time to learn more about what is taking place and share your thoughts,
concerns and ideas for a better Beaufort.


Next the press release from the city:


For immediate release

Friday, March 18, 2011

Contact: Scott Dadson, Beaufort City Manager, 843-525-7070

 Beaufort's plan for the future builds in workshops next week, public invited

Building Beaufort's future continues next week with a weeklong
planning workshop to take public input from recent sessions and create
designs for neighborhoods in the downtown area. The workshop is led by the
Beaufort Redevelopment Commission through the Office of Civic Investment.

"This is one of many steps toward creating not just a
vision, but a reality for what our future can be and will be," Beaufort
Mayor Billy Keyserling said. "Two years ago we created our 10 year comprehensive
plan called 'Vision Beaufort' and now is the time to being implementing the
plan on a block by block, neighborhood basis."

Joe DeVito, chairman of the Beaufort-Port Royal Metropolitan
Planning Commission, agreed. "While most comprehensive plans sit on
shelf collecting dust until it is time to update them in five years, in honor
of Beaufort celebrating its 300th birthday this year, we are busily working
to launch Beaufort's fourth century," he said.

The first planning session focuses on Sector 1, which includes
Beaufort's historic district (downtown, The Point, Northwest Quadrant, The
Old Commons and The Bluff neighborhoods); Pigeon Point; Uptown Beaufort along
the easternmost Boundary Street Corridor; Higginsonville and Whitehall (on
Lady's Island).

Future sessions over the next 18 months will cover the rest of
the city.

 "Each neighborhood has its history, unique character
and physical attributes upon which we will respect, build upon and not
destroy," said Jon Verity, Chairman of the City Redevelopment
Commission, which is overseeing the contract with the Office of Civic
Investment and The Lawrence Group to complete the new Civic Master Plan for

Preceded by interviews and meetings with neighborhood groups,
designers, property owners, real estate developers and other professionals,
the "slow charette" process take place between March 22 - 28.
During the intensive process, , designers will be sketching potential options
for housing

concepts, neighborhoods improvements , street corners,
sidewalks, streetscapes, public open spaces and parks and appropriate
commercial spaces uniquely appropriate for the City. There will be
opportunities for the public to view and comment on the concepts throughout
the rocess.

The design studio will be open for public view from 4-7 p.m.
Wednesday, March 23; hursday March 24; and Friday, March 25, at 209 Charles
Street near the corner of Charles and Bay streets in downtown Beaufort.

The goal? "Coming out of this intensive weeklong charette,
our goal is to develop design plans at the neighborhood, block and site
levels, and to start drawing up recommended policy and infrastructure
recommendations to the City leaders," said Josh Martin, who leads the
process for the Office of Civic Investment.

Specific targets include:

Pre-packaged projects/deals for interested property owners and potential

Examples of implementation of form-based code

Policy recommendations to the City for more streamlined regulations that clearly
lay out consistent and predictable expectations for development and
redevelopment in targeted areas of the City

Infrastructure recommendations to the City including sidewalks, streetscapes,
parks and other open space, streets and improving existing alley ways
throughout part of the city

"The Civic Master Plan will establish principles and
standards which will lead to a roadmap for all public and private development
in Beaufort. The Office of Civic Investment, working withthe Beaufort
Redevelopment Commission and City Council, will identify and promote
investment and reinvestment opportunities, block by block, in each
neighborhood throughout the City, not just one or two neighborhoods,"
Beaufort City Manager Scott Dadson said.

Previous public sessions included workshops with neighborhood
associations (Feb. 17), thedevelopment community (Feb. 24), a neighborhood
walk-around tour (Feb. 26), A Redevelopment Commission presentation (March
3), and a retail and marketing session March 8. All told, more than 200
people attended those meetings.

Comments from the workshops included observations and goals such

  • · Widen the public perception of
    "downtown Beaufort" from simply Bay Street to include the areas
    bordered by Bay, Carteret, Boundary and Ribaut Road
  • · Help Beaufort grow while maintaining its
    historic character\
  • · Create improved sidewalks to increase
  • · Capitalize upon the variety of
    educational opportunities in the area, including public and private schools
    as well as the Beaufort College campus of USC-B and the Technical College of
    the Lowcountry
  • · Add more mixed use of residential above
  • · Attract new and varied retailers and
    office spaces
  • · Expand the area's economic base
  • · Provide incentives to encourage
    development downtown
  • · Affordable housing including small-scale
    multi-family units and accessory dwelling units
  • · Create more parking opportunities
    throughout the entire downtown area.

For frequent updates on the planning process for Beaufort's
fourth century, visit and