An Olive Garden, parking, a movie, and school closure: It's a fun week of government in Beaufort (update: one delayed)


[Update, noon: Monday's planning meeting where the Olive Garden project was to be discussed has been rescheduled until January 10. More on the change at the bottom.]

OK, so the word "fun" is a bit of stretch, but there's a lot of interesting things on the local politics calendar this week as we enter the core of the holiday season.

First up today, December 13, the proposed Olive Garden goes before the Beaufort-Port Royal Metropolitan Planning Commission to see if they can get a variance to set back the building an additional 12 feet (meeting agenda and variance request.)

On Tuesday there's a Beaufort City Council meeting where they'll pick back up on changes to the downtown parking system, talk about the Bladen Street rezoning, and hear a request for a February street closure to film a movie (meeting agenda.)

On Wednesday the Beaufort County School Board will meet where the proposed closure of Shell Point Elementary is sure to be a hot issue (no agenda yet, but they meet at Beaufort County Council Chambers at 100 Ribaut Road usually at 5 p.m. You can also watch online at

Now the only question is, do they allow popcorn to be brought in?

Update December 14: Perhaps to be expected, Monday's meeting was moved to January 10 due to much of today's political life being stalled out by the funeral service of Harriet Keyserling

The chairman of today's board made the choice to postpone the meeting after receiving a number of phone calls that their schedule was conflicted due to the passing of Mrs. Keyserling and her services.

I also checked with Glenn McCaskey from 303 Associates, he spoke along similar lines: "It is certainly right to have the day's focus be on honoring Mrs. Keyserling."

He continued that, "I would have liked to see the approval moved along tonight but, at the same time, it may give the city time to sort out some of the confusing issues of juggling four master plans over the past ten years and come up with the right decision for the Olive Garden opportunity. It is something the people want and would be a shame to hinder the creation of almost 100 new jobs in town.  And who would want to lose the generation of significant tax revenues for city coffers, all the work involved in a new $4.6 million construction project and such a shot in the arm for the city in these difficult economic times."

It's possible that project may be discussed some at Tuesday's city council meeting, but council will still need to await the Planning Commission's decision.