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    Civic masterplan sector1-preface Civic masterplan sector1-preface Document Transcript

    • CITY OF BEAUFORTCI V I C M A ST ER PL A N Volume I Sector 1: Downtown September 2011
    • This Civic Master Plan was prepared for: The City of Beaufort, South Carolina City Officials: Billy Keyserling, Mayor Donnie Beer, City Council Mike Sutton, City Council Mike McFee, City Council George O’Kelley Jr., City Council Jonathan Verity, Redevelopment Commission Michael McNally, Redevelopment Commission Ed Barnhart, Redevelopment Commission Martin Goodman, Redevelopment Commission Henrietta Goode, Redevelopment Commission Pat Kase, Redevelopment Commission Keith Waldrop, Redevelopment Commission Wendy Zara, Redevelopment Commission © 2011 by the City of Beaufort, South Carolina. All Photos, Images, and Text by the City of Beaufort Office of Civic Investment unless otherwise noted. Reproduction Permitted with Credit in Print.i Civic Master Plan | Sector 1
    • CONTENTS iiPREFACE 1 Acknowledgements 3 Introduction 4 The Planning Process 12 Existing Conditions (City & Region) 16SECTOR 1 21 Executive Summary 23 Sector Conditions 29 Sector 1 Master Plan 35 Sector 1 Vision & Overview 36 Transportation 46 Natural Infrastructure & Parks 58 Bay Street & the Waterfront 66 Corridor Plans 76 Neighborhoods 94 Specific Interventions 104 Implementation Elements 112 Form-Based Code Calibration 114APPENDICES Appendix A: Sector 1 Maps Appendix B: Retail Report Appendix C: Redevelopment Commission Project Book (Sector 1) Appendix D: Sector 1 Charrette Closing Presentation Transcript Sector 1 Civic Master Plan City of Beaufort, SC | www.beaufortcivicinvestment.org
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    • P R E FA C EAcknowledgements 3Introduction 4The Planning Process 10Existing Conditions 14 1
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    • Preface | Section 1ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 3The Beaufort Civic Master Plan-Sector 1 team representsthe joint efforts of the Beaufort RedevelopmentCommission and the Office of Civic Investment. ThePlan’s background reports and technical informationpertaining to site context, constraints and analysis weregathered over a three month process of public andprivate workshops as well as from previous studiesand existing data provided by the City of Beaufort,Beaufort County, The Beaufort County Open Land Trust,Beaufort Main Street, The Historic Beaufort Foundation,USCB, The Beaufort Chamber of Commerce and TheLow Country Economic Development Network. Theinformation forms the foundation for the planning anddesign efforts presented herein. The Civic Master Planwas prepared in draft form during an eight-day charretteheld in downtown Beaufort and refined and vetted over athree-month process.Under the primary direction of the RedevelopmentCommission, the Office of Civic Investment is a uniquepublic/private consortium led by The Lawrence Groupand Metrocology in partnership with city staff andother affiliated companies. Their primary focus is tomanage a transparent and aggressive work program thatcoordinates the activities of other staff members, boards,and related partner organizations in achieving the goalsof the Comprehensive Plan, this Civic Master Plan, andother key priorities of the Redevelopment Commission.The many participants on the Beaufort Civic Master Planfor Sector 1 represent a team of progressive thinkersand practitioners in the design of human settlements andnatural conservation. Working in collaboration with localgovernment representatives and civic organizations,stakeholders, technical specialists, and citizens, theSector 1 opportunities and constraints were assessed andcreative approaches tested for development. Civic Master Plan City of Beaufort, SC | www.beaufortcivicinvestment.org
    • Preface | Section 2 INTRODUCTION THE HUMAN HABITAT establishes a community with the power to affect a civic- minded resolution of the issues. This plan encourages Human communities share similarities with natural complex relationships that leverage cultural, economic, habitats. Both require diverse and complex environments and social forces to provide a resilient alternative to the to sustain their inhabitants. When properly provided, conventional suburban model of planning and design. these environments form the ecotones of the natural Laying the foundations for and creating community is habitat and the various community settlement patterns of one of the most important of human endeavors. Because the human habitat. When either habitat is denied inherent it is apparent that the existing model of development has complexities, or addressed in isolation of the other, its not resulted in a better community, the Beaufort Civic environment suffers and becomes non-sustaining. Master Plan becomes the tool for creating a community that properly balances the natural and human habitats. Having been subjected to modelling and specialist professions over the previous half-century, the human environment has been severely eroded. Whereas in THE REALITY the past a natural area was lost, in its place a hamlet, village, town, or city was gained which was as equally If nothing were done to describe a vision for the complex and diverse as the nature it replaced. The City of Beaufort, existing property rights and ad hoc process represented a “fair trade” between the natural development and land use regulations would dictate and human environments because it can be argued a very different outcome than that proposed by this that culture, economy, and the growth of society are Civic Master Plan. The regulatory environment for as critical to humans as biodiversity and vibrant, the City is based on the application of conventional sucessional ecosystems are to nature. But today when a planning and zoning with an overlay of historic piece of nature is lost, a housing estate, shopping center, preservation guidelines that have been inconsistent or business park replaces it. These “products” represent in their enforcement. The results to date have been a a net loss to each system. The natural habitat destroyed homogenization of what little new development has is replaced by a substandard human habitat. Heavily occurred both in terms of site layouts and building reliant on modelling and simple statistics to facilitate design with an overall character that does not reflect its delivery, such development ignores the underlying the immediate history of the City. The inconsistent complexity of people’s actions and needs. vision has also lead to a “freeze” in the redevelopment of significant portions of the building stock which over This master plan provides a significant opportunity to the years has nurtured a condition of “demolition by correctly reconcile these needs, and show how they can neglect.” coexist. With a favorable climate, a sizable historic core, and breathtaking natural scenery, growth must be encouraged in already developed areas and properly THE VISION provided for in undeveloped areas so as to avoid undue expansion into our precious natural areas. A full range The Beaufort Civic Master Plan proposes a fully of human habitats must be part of the regional solution developed vision of a sustainable future for downtown and these habitats must engage the natural environment Beaufort. Taking into account the environment, in order to preserve it. Downtown Beaufort has been land ownership, existing zoning and use rights, the heavily modified by human occupation since it was first Plan incorporates design elements with technical settled. It is logical and fair to impose upon the land the documentation to facilitate regulatory implementation. needs of a proper human habitat. The addition of the technical documentation and support material is an important distinction between Beaufort’s Planned according to the principles and techniques of Civic Master Plan and conventional strategic plans and transect-based design, the Beaufort Civic Master Plan zoning initiatives.4 Civic Master Plan | Preface
    • 5 KeySector Map Sector 1 January 2011 Key Sector 2 Sector Map Sector 3 Sector 1 N January 2011 Sector 4 Sector 2 Sector 3 N Sector 5 Sector 4 0’ 400’ 800’ 1,600’ Scale 1”=800’ Sector 5 B E AU F O RT S E C TO R M A P 0’ 400’ 800’ 1,600’ Scale 1”=800’ BEAUFORT CIVIC MASTER PLAN – SECTOR 1 its expertise in planning, marketing and re-developing compact, walkable, mixed-use communities, using On March 28, 2011, the Beaufort Civic Master Plan locally relevant architecture as a guide for future for Sector 1 was presented to a gathering of citizens buildings within landscapes of high amenity. and stakeholders. The presentation represented the The Civic Master Plan illustrates ideal build-out culmination of an eight-day Charrette held by the scenarios for areas identified during the charrette and in Office of Civic Investment for the City of Beaufort. the previous three months of workshops and technical The charrette design team was selected specifically for meetings. The scenarios incorporate a comprehensive Civic Master Plan City of Beaufort, SC | www.beaufortcivicinvestment.org
    • Preface | Section 2 | Introduction evaluation of environmental issues, existing regional growth trends, local concerns and balances their impact on the delivery of “community based” design. The Civic Master Plan is a vision document prepared as a technical manual through the incorporation of diagrams, sections, site-specific plans, a regulating plan and renderings. What makes the Beaufort Civic Master Plan different from other planning documents and processes is its adherence to a specific set of principles and techniques called transect-based planning, and a thorough integration of the transect into the City’s administrative structure. Transect principles center on providing community design that is pedestrian-based. This simple statement requires an entirely different approach to the planning and building of the places in which we live and a much different method of introducing it to those who participate in building these places. The reason for this is that a majority of development today is based on the principles and techniques of “Conventional Suburban Development”, or CSD. In essence, the differences between CSD and transect-based planning relate to how each accommodates the car, for it is the car that determines most of the physical attributes of community design. LEARNING FROM THE PAST AND INCORPORATING THE PRESENT TO PLAN A BETTER FUTURE Downtown Beaufort is a community that recently celebrated it’s 300 year anniversary. It and thousands F I N A L P R E S E N TAT I O N of other similar communities around the world were developed using transect based design techniques. Narrow streets are laid out in an interconnected pattern. designing towns has been replaced with the practice Blocks are typically short. Parks are interspersed and of developing single use “pods.” Pods are building accessible, and civic sites with important community clusters compromised solely of residences, or offices, buildings are placed in prominent locations. Uses are or shopping. These are further segregated by “product mixed and the housing stock varies from detached single type.” For example, residential uses are separated into family homes, to attached houses, and apartments. single family detached, townhomes, and apartments. The mixing of uses and of sub categories of the same The methods used to develop these communities use was not only discouraged, it was made illegal once have been absent in the planning and development municipalities adopted segregated zoning ordinances. industry and in the curriculum of planning and design The possibility of assembling the various components schools since the late 1950’s. Since World War II into a coherent urbanism is no longer possible.6 Civic Master Plan | Preface
    • 7SECTOR 1 MASTER PLANBecause “precedent” no longer matters, the resulting refinements and adaptations within the knowledge base“Conventional Suburban Development” (CSD) is often shaped the different regional vernaculars which existdescribed as formless, or sprawl. today.Today, as planners, architects and developers seek to The shift from place-based designs to placelessness wascombat the negative impacts of CSD, good precedent encouraged by, and helped usher in with, wide spreadfrom the past has once again begun to inform reliance on the car. Car ownership is now the rule notcontemporary urban development practice. Among the exception and the problem of getting motorists tothese has been the reintroduction of building typology and from their daily needs dispersed among the differentand coding to shape the civic realm. In the past great “pods” that make up their suburban settings, has becomeurban design occurred through the actions of many the biggest challenge to continued growth and prosperityworking within a knowledge base which respected for communities around the world. The answer, untilprecedent. With minimal guidance, many of the greatest very recently, was to build more roads.examples of urbanism were constructed by individualsworking across disciplines and time. Over generations, Civic Master Plan City of Beaufort, SC | www.beaufortcivicinvestment.org
    • Preface | Section 2 | Introduction In countries where CSD became the predominant model • Unique community design and historic atmosphere for new development, a wave of road building ensued • Access to local goods, services, and cultural which often changes the character of communities amenities completely. Road widening and new bypasses built • The military presence, hospital, and higher to help alleviate traffic have actually increased traffic, education institutions because they mandate car use. Under this system • Community interaction and small community feel traffic is funnelled from a large system of low capacity roads into a small system of high capacity roads. As To achieve this vision, the following directives have a result, even nominal growth ends up generating a been established to guide the decision making process disproportionately high level of traffic congestion. both for this plan and future implementing elements. Today, municipalities and government agencies around order to ensure the long term success and viability of the the world employ the techniques and principles of City of Beaufort. We must support the continuation and transect design in their planning and zoning ordinances. expansion of our primary economic engines - tourism, The codes control the visual outcomes and shape the the military, healthcare, and education - while also experiences for residents and visitors. They introduce a seeking to expand opportunities for the arts and the design discipline that enables compatibility at all scales, from different types of uses within a development to Sustainability various types of developments within a region. They are the learning mechanism by which community building 1 The activities of the City of Beaufort will consider the balance of social, environmental, and economic can once again rest on a knowledge base that adheres to sustainability principles for both the community precedent. and the private property owner with all of our decisions. ESSENTIAL PRINCIPLES & GOALS Regionalism As stated in the 2009 Comprehensive Plan, the City of 2 We are committed to the implementation of the Northern Beaufort County Regional Plan as a Beaufort and its citizens envision a City with: • Beautiful, stable neighborhoods guideline for our regional decisions and future • A common community vision urban form and we will continue to engage and • A sustainable economic base coordinate in regional planning activities. Our • Transportation options and convenient access planning will extend to the established urban to services & destinations growth boundary and will tie together all areas of • Attractive and vital community gateways and the community in a cohesive manner. corridors • Natural resources that balance protection with Natural Infrastructure public access and enjoyment • A balance between preservation and sensitive infill 3 We must protect our environmental resources as fundamental to the natural ecosystem and and redevelopment of our historic core our quality of life. We will utilize innovative and • A predictable development process for citizens and context-sensitive solutions to conserve and protect developers alike our natural resources including our salt marshes, • A welcoming atmosphere to all people. marsh islands, coastal waters, and marine resources; trees, forests, and wildlife habitats; beaches and To help achieve this vision, we will build upon and dunes; and open space preservation. protect our assets and strengths: • Natural beauty and open spaces8 Civic Master Plan | Preface
    • 94 Growth We must encourage growth within our urban service 10 Historic and Cultural Resources Beaufort is a living, dynamic community and must balance the protection of its abundant area by primarily focusing on the regeneration of our current assets through infill and redevelopment. natural, cultural, institutional and historic Development in our urban growth boundary shall resources with managed growth that adds be sensitively focused on a conservation ethic with to the community’s character for future a compact and efficient built form that could be generations without degrading those serviced with municipal services in the future. resources which we value.5 Economic Development A strong, vibrant, and healthy economy will be 11 Social Diversity We will maintain and celebrate the integrated ethnic and socioeconomic diversity of the achieved through a successful economic development community. To this end, we are committed program in order to ensure the long term success and to the provision of affordable and workforce viability of the City of Beaufort. We must support housing throughout the city. the continuation and expansion of our primary 12 Hazard Mitigation economic engines - tourism, the military, healthcare, and education - while also seeking to expand As a coastal community, we will feel the direct opportunities for the arts and the recruitment of impacts of tropical storm activity and creative/knowledge-based industries. flooding. We must be prudent in our preparation for these expected hazards and6 Access and Mobility Our citizens and visitors need a transportation system that integrates regional solutions with a fine- mitigate against the loss of property to the greatest extent practical. 13 Climate Change grained local network of choices that accommodate the automobile, pedestrians, bicyclists, and water- We must participate in solutions that reduce or avoid based travel. potential impacts to our regional and global climate and in turn we must adapt to those7 Urban Form The City will maintain its distinct urban form by encouraging growth and development using the conditions which are likely to be inevitable, most specifically sea level rise. 14 Resource Efficiency model of walkable, urban, mixed-use neighborhoods established by the historic core of the City. We will manage our consumption of renewable and non-renewable resources including energy Neighborhoods8 and water and will continue to reduce our We believe that all our neighborhoods, including total waste stream. In addition we will be the downtown, must be vibrant and diverse and thus supportive of community activities that require consistent and continual public and private promote resource efficiency and the attention, maintenance and re-investment. Our production of alternative energy and neighborhoods should be reinforced in all planning innovative water use and protection practices. and infrastructure projects.9 Parks & Public Open Spaces The City will permanently preserve and expand 15 Fiscal Sustainability The city, as a provider of urban services, must focus on long-term solvency with each incremental a community-wide parks, recreation and open decision. Capital investments should leverage space network that serves the entire city from the future benefits and must consider the neighborhood playground to the regional reserve. Civic Master Plan City of Beaufort, SC | www.beaufortcivicinvestment.org
    • impact on long term operational costs prior to their implementation. Perhaps most importantly, we will constantly seek efficient and innovative ways in which to deliver services and maintain our assets. 16 Facilities of Infrastructure and Adequacy The contiguous extension of our corporate boundaries will be considered to the extent that the provision of city services can be economically and efficiently provided and will be subject to the adequate availability and timely construction of community infrastructure and public facilities. 17 Planning & Implementation We will continue our history of thoughtful, detailed planning and will include practical implementing elements to leverage our ideas with actions. Success is bred not from what we say but what we accomplish.10 Civic Master Plan | Preface
    • 11This page intentionally left blank. Civic Master Plan City of Beaufort, SC | www.beaufortcivicinvestment.org
    • Preface | Section 3 THE PLANNING PROCESS The Civic Master Plan for Beaufort is being developed VISION BEAUFORT: 2009 COMPREHENSIVE by the City’s Office of Civic Investment through a PLAN carefully designed, transparent planning process that is intended to be inclusive of input from a wide variety In 2009, the City of Beaufort adopted “Vision of community stakeholders, elected officials, the Beaufort,” a comprehensive plan that articulates a development community, and the general public. The vision for the growth and development of the City plans and recommendations presented in this booklet and establishes a guide for the implementation of that represent the culmination of that process through a vision. In completing the plan, a broadly inclusive public weeklong design charrette, held from March 22nd participation process was used to ensure that the vision through March 28th, 2011. The detailed plans completed established in the plan is shared by a wide variety of at that charrette were preceded by two other recent Beaufort citizens and is truly reflective of the aspirations planning efforts in Beaufort, the 2009 Comprehensive of the general public, elected officials, city staff, the Plan and the Sector 1 Synoptic Survey. These significant development community, business owners, property efforts have informed and enabled the parcel-level detail owners, and visitors alike. The plan was completed by considered in the Sector 1 Charrette planning and design the Carolinas Office of The Lawrence Group, a town recommendations. planning and architecture firm that is also leading the five: a framework for growth ComPlete framework iNCorPoratiNg tHe eNtire urBaN growtH BouNdary VISION BEAUFORT 2009 Comprehensive Plan Adopted by City Council 12.08.2009 vision Beaufort | 2020 Comprehensive plan 56 2009 COMPREHENSIVE PLAN12 Civic Master Plan | Preface
    • 13current Civic Master Planning process through the Office SYNOPTIC SURVEYof Civic Investment. One important way that the Office of Civic InvestmentThe Comprehensive Plan includes a wealth of has sought to translate the community-wide visioninformation about targeting public investment, into detailed plans and recommendations is throughestablishing community design objectives, pursuing the Synoptic Survey process. The Synoptic Surveypotential catalyst projects, and most, importantly, process involved collecting data for every parcel ofimplementing the vision that will guide Beaufort land in the Sector 1 planning area, in order to helpinto its next decade of growth and development. The calibrate the community-wide vision established in thetask of the Office of Civic Investment is to translate Comprehensive Plan to the specific conditions of eachthis shared vision into specific parcel-level plans and parcel of land.recommendations for the entire city and manage the day-to-day tasks involved in their implementation. two: the path forward two: the path forward 2.1 Our VisiOn, EssEntial PrinCiPlEs and gOals The City of Beaufort and its citizens envision a City with: 5 Economic Development A strong, vibrant, and healthy economy will be achieved through a successful economic development 12 Hazard Mitigation As a coastal community, we will feel the direct impacts of tropical storm activity and flooding. • Beautiful, stable neighborhoods program in order to ensure the long term success and We must be prudent in our preparation for these • A common community vision viability of the City of Beaufort. We must support expected hazards and mitigate against the loss of • A sustainable economic base the continuation and expansion of our primary property to the greatest extent practical. • Transportation options and convenient access to services & destinations economic engines - tourism, the military, healthcare, • Attractive and vital community gateways and corridors • Natural resources that balance protection with public access and enjoyment • A balance between preservation and sensitive infill and redevelopment of our and education - while also seeking to expand opportunities for the arts and the recruitment of creative/knowledge-based industries. 13 Climate Change We must participate in solutions that reduce or avoid potential impacts to our regional and global climate historic core and in turn we must adapt to those conditions which • A predictable development process for citizens and developers alike • A welcoming atmosphere to all people 6 Access and Mobility Our citizens and visitors need a transportation system that integrates regional solutions with a fine- are likely to be inevitable, most specifically sea level rise. 14 Resource Efficiency To help achieve this vision, we will build upon and protect our assets and strengths: grained local network of choices that accommodate • Natural beauty and open spaces the automobile, pedestrians, bicyclists, and water- We will manage our consumption of renewable and Success is bred not from • Unique community design and historic atmosphere based travel. non-renewable resources including energy and water what we say but in • Access to local goods, services, and cultural amenities and will continue to reduce our total waste stream. • The military presence, hospital, and higher education institutions what we accomplish. • Community interaction and small community feel 7 Urban Form The City will maintain its distinct urban form by encouraging growth and development using the In addition we will be supportive of community activities that promote resource efficiency and the production of alternative energy and innovative To achieve this vision, the following directives have been established to guide the decision model of walkable, urban, mixed-use neighborhoods water use and protection practices. making process both for this plan and future implementing elements. established by the historic core of the City. 1 Sustainability Neighborhoods 15 Fiscal Sustainability The city, as a provider of urban services, must 8 The activities of the City of Beaufort will consider the balance of social, focus on long-term solvency with each incremental environmental, and economic sustainability principles for both the community We believe that all our neighborhoods, including decision. Capital investments should leverage future and the private property owner with all of our decisions. the downtown, must be vibrant and diverse and thus benefits and must consider the impact on long term require consistent and continual public and private operational costs prior to their implementation. 2 Regionalism attention, maintenance and re-investment. Our Perhaps most importantly, we will constantly seek We are committed to the implementation of the Northern Beaufort County neighborhoods should be reinforced in all planning efficient and innovative ways in which to deliver Regional Plan as a guideline for our regional decisions and future urban form and infrastructure projects. services and maintain our assets. and we will continue to engage and coordinate in regional planning activities. Our planning will extend to the established urban growth boundary and will tie together all areas of the community in a cohesive manner. 9 Parks & Public Open Spaces The City will permanently preserve and expand a community-wide parks, recreation and open 16 Adequacy of Infrastructure and Facilities The contiguous extension of our corporate boundaries will be considered to the extent that 3 Natural Infrastructure space network that serves the entire city from the the provision of city services can be economically We must protect our environmental resources as fundamental to the natural neighborhood playground to the regional reserve. and efficiently provided and will be subject to the ecosystem and our quality of life. We will utilize innovative and context-sensitive adequate availability and timely construction of solutions to conserve and protect our natural resources including our salt marshes, marsh islands, coastal waters, and marine resources; trees, forests, and 10 Historic and Cultural Resources Beaufort is a living, dynamic community and must balance the protection of its abundant natural, community infrastructure and public facilities. 17 Planning & Implementation wildlife habitats; beaches and dunes; and open space preservation. cultural, institutional and historic resources with We will continue our history of thoughtful, detailed 4 Growth managed growth that adds to the community’s planning and will include practical implementing We must encourage growth within our urban service area by primarily focusing character for future generations without degrading elements to leverage our ideas with actions. Success is on the regeneration of our current assets through infill and redevelopment. those resources which we value. bred not from what we say but what we accomplish. Development in our urban growth boundary shall be sensitively focused on a conservation ethic with a compact and efficient built form that could be serviced with municipal services in the future. 11 Social Diversity We will maintain and celebrate the integrated ethnic and socioeconomic diversity of the community. To this end, we are committed to the provision of affordable and workforce housing throughout the city. 11 City of Beaufort, SC Vision Beaufort | 2020 Comprehensive plan 12 Civic Master Plan City of Beaufort, SC | www.beaufortcivicinvestment.org
    • Preface | Section 3 | The Planning Process The Synoptic Survey process was developed as a means to identify the unique attributes of specific places and calibrate development regulations accordingly. The Synoptic Survey in Beaufort captured information such as building material and use, lot condition, street frontage, and neighborhood condition, among many others. In total, 51 unique data attributes were collected and assembled from January 24 to February 4, 2011 for every property in the Sector 1 planning area. (See Synoptic Survey Example.) Collecting this data has done three essential things for the Civic Master Planning process. • First, it has allowed the Office of Civic Investment team to build a geographic information system (GIS) database that accurately describes the conditions of every lot in the Sector 1 planning area. This data was then used to more broadly analyze the existing conditions in Sector 1 and inform the detailed plans and recommendations developed during the Sector 1 Planning and Design Charrette. • Second, the Synoptic Survey data allows the Office of Civic Investment, in partnership with the Beaufort Redevelopment Commission and other S Y N O P T I C S U RV EY E X A M P L E organizations, to identify specific sites as candidates for pilot projects and redevelopment efforts. • Third, it establishes a set of benchmark design feedback on the many topics to be addressed in each elements for every neighborhood in Beaufort that planning sector. The public workshops each focus will be used to calibrate development regulations for on a unique discussion topic and provide invaluable the City, specifically the Form-Based Code that is comments and feedback. being developed in cooperation with Beaufort County. These workshops, combined with the vision for the community described in the Comprehensive Plan and the data collected through the Sector 1 Synoptic Survey, SLOW CHARRETTE PROCESS gave the charrette design team an incredible wealth of information to help guide their efforts during the In order to maximize the design efforts during the weeklong charrette process for each sector. charrette week for each Sector, the Office of Civic Investment is taking the “slow charrette” approach. Rather than trying to squeeze all the public workshops into one week, they are spread out over a month- and-a-half prior to the charrette in order to maximize participation. The OCI team has hosted a series of public workshops to engage the community and solicit14 Civic Master Plan | Preface
    • 15This page intentionally left blank. Civic Master Plan City of Beaufort, SC | www.beaufortcivicinvestment.org
    • Preface | Section 4 EXISTING CONDITIONS Beaufort is a city in, and the county seat of, Beaufort at colonization before the British successfully founded County, South Carolina, United States. Chartered in the city in 1711. The city initially grew slowly, subject 1711, it is the second-oldest city in South Carolina, to numerous attacks from Native American tribes and behind Charleston. In 2010, the city’s population was threats of Spanish invasion before flourishing as a center estimated to be approximately 12,361. It is located in the for shipbuilding. In the antebellum period before the Hilton Head Island-Beaufort Micropolitan Area. Civil War, the city thrived as the aristocratic center for the Lowcountry plantation economy. Beaufort (pronounced /ˈbjuːfərt/ BEW-fərt, unlike its counterpart in North Carolina) is located on Port Royal Several months after hostilities began between the states, Island, in the heart of the Sea Islands and Lowcoun- Beaufort was occupied by Union forces following the try. The city is renowned for its scenic location on the Battle of Port Royal. Due in part to its early occupa- Beaufort River and for maintaining a historic character tion, the city became a center of emancipation efforts for through its impressive antebellum architecture. The city newly freed slaves during the war and into Reconstruc- is also known for its proximity to major military estab- tion. After the war, the city relied on phosphate mining lishments. Beaufort is home to the Marine Corps Air Sta- before a devastating hurricane in 1893 and a fire in 1907 tion Beaufort and Naval Hospital Beaufort. The Marine brought economic turmoil and stagnant growth to the Corps Recruiting Depot Parris Island is also a major city for nearly half a century. The community rebounded military installation located about 11 miles to the south. in the later half of the 20th century due to the growth of the military presence and the development of tourism. In spite of new development, Beaufort has retained much HISTORY of its historic character through its renowned architecture and historic preservation efforts. The Lowcountry region had been a subject of numer- ous European explorations and several aborted attempts Source: Vision Beaufort: 2009 Comprehensive Plan. City of Beaufort, SC D OWN TOWN B E AU F O RT ( 2 0 1 0 )16 Civic Master Plan | Preface
    • 17 Image Source:: www.polawanaisland.com Image Source:: www.polawanaisland.comB E AU F O RT D O C K c . 1 9 3 9 D OWN TOWN B E AU F O RT (d at e un kn own) Image Source: Historic Beaufort FoundationH I S TO R I C V I EW o f D OWN TOWN B E AU F O RT Civic Master Plan City of Beaufort, SC | www.beaufortcivicinvestment.org
    • Preface | Section 4 | Existing Conditions THE REGION Charleston to Savannah or Hilton Head. Given that the Sector 1 planning area in Beaufort offers the most in The City of Beaufort, and more specifically, the Sector terms of local economic and cultural momentum and 1 planning area, occupies a unique position within the most opportunity for regional interconnectivity, it is the Lowcountry region of South Carolina. The rich an ideal place to begin planning for Beaufort to assume estuarial ecology and centuries old history of this area a more prominent role within the Lowcountry region. contribute to a special sense of place in the Lowcountry Improved regional transportation connections, from that is unique within the South and the United States. regional greenways and transit routes to expanded ferry/ Characterized by diverse trading ports, antebellum water-taxi opportunities, will be essential to assuming architecture, and traditions that borrow from a wide and maintaining a more prominent role in the region. variety of European, Caribbean, and African roots, the In order to support this goal, a specific strategy for Lowcountry is a distinct cultural and geographic region. regional connectivity across a variety of transportation modes was developed in this initial charrette of the Civic In many respects, Beaufort is a secondary urban center Master Planning process and is illustrated in the diagram in the Lowcountry region. Its institutions, businesses and at right. industries are well-established, but exist in the shadow of the larger Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA markets. In particular, a strategy for the creation of a regional Nearby, Hilton Head Island is also a significant source parks system centered on the Beaufort River will of economic activity as one of the largest vacation and allow Beaufort to offer something to residents and resort centers in the country. visitors alike that is entirely unique to the region. The “Beaufort River Regional Greenway and Parks Although it is not as prominent as some its neighbors, System” is a parks and greenways network that offers Beaufort plays a distinct and significant role in the over 10 miles of riverfront parks and trails, as well as economy and identity of the Lowcountry. The large regional connections to a Rail-Trail system that extends military presence is a tremendous economic engine for pedestrian and bike paths north into Beaufort County. the region. The parks system will begin by extending Beaufort’s Given its proximity to Hilton Head Island, Charleston existing Waterfront Park through a boardwalk along the and Savannah, Beaufort is certainly not the only Bluff to the west. (see page 56) It will continue along the economic engine of the region. However, distinct Beaufort River, through a series of publicly accessible from its neighbors, Beaufort County’s large military boardwalks and parks, to the Port Royal riverfront at presence plays a significant role in the area’s economy. Battery Creek and also across the Beaufort River to Also, the combination of Bay Street and Waterfront the Whitehall Plantation property. Along the way, piers Park in downtown Beaufort continues to be a regional extending through the salt marshes along the river will draw for tourists. Beaufort is more than a stop on the provide spots for picnicking, fishing, canoeing/kayaking, road between Charleston and Savannah; it is a vibrant sailing, and docking other small boats. Key destinations community with great amenities to offer. In short, on the greenway system include Beaufort Memorial Beaufort has a history, cultural identity, and economic Hospital, the Technical College of the Lowcountry, the vitality all to its own. Beaufort Yacht and Sailing Club, the Naval Hospital Beaufort, and a connection to the proposed Rail-Trail The success of the Sector 1 planning area, and the City that terminates in Port Royal. of Beaufort in general, is dependent upon how the city positions itself in relationship to the Town of Port Royal, Other significant regional transportation investments will Beaufort County, and the Lowcountry region beyond. include a regional bus system that connects Beaufort, to Beaufort’s challenge will be to establish itself in the Port Royal, Parris Island, Laurel Bay, Habersham and region as more than just a stopover on the journey from other significant destinations in the county. A water taxi18 Civic Master Plan | Preface
    • 19PROPOSED REGIONAL INTERCONNECTIVIT Ysystem will also offer tourists and business travelers of mode options provided in the regional transportationeasy travel to destinations as far as Hilton Head Island, scheme, in addition to personal automobile travel, willCharleston, and Savannah through the Beaufort River. position Beaufort for success in the coming global era beyond cheap gas and universal automobile dependence.In the short term, the transportation strategy described This combination of systems will allow Beaufortabove will broaden the opportunities for regional access residences to live locally without sacrificing regionaland help to position Beaufort as a primary economic mobility and create a sustainable platform for regionaland cultural urban center in the Lowcountry region. In development.the long-term, the “Beaufort River Regional Greenwayand Parks System” will become an incredibly valuablepublic asset shared between The City of Beaufort, theTown of Port Royal and Beaufort County. It will be anational draw for new residents and tourists, helping toattract and retain educated and talent people. The variety Civic Master Plan City of Beaufort, SC | www.beaufortcivicinvestment.org