13 Jun Taken with a grain of salt, this is an interesting read on a new development code
While I believe the case in the following blog article is a little overstated, likely to grab the readers’ attention, the participatory side of planning cannot be overlooked.
As the city has invested both time and money in planning through engaging literally hundreds of residents throughout the process, we cannot stop there as we seek to adopt a practical and usable code that “guides” the “vision” of the Civic Master Plan.
If there is one thing I have learned, planning does not get most citizen’s attention until it touches them and their neighborhood directly. After each of many, I mean many, planning meetings over several years where the long term vision for the city was presented, the audience thanked the presenter and applauded the effort. But, when I watched participants, who at the end of the presentation raced to look at the images that were posted on the wall, I heard something a little different. If nothing in their neighborhood could change the block on which they lived or the neighborhood, they commented that they liked the plan. If they found potential for change on their block or in their neighborhood, they were aghast that someone would dare suggest a change.
It took awhile, but we succeeded in establishing a consensus “vision,” as we are now working on developing a code that has the potential for making the development process more understandable and less difficult.
While I believe City Council is anxious to complete the long awaited Beaufort Code, I believe we also want a workable code that citizens will understand and most will hopefully embrace as a way forward.
As a practical matter, nothing in the code should mandate that people change what they have, but it does promote giving others opportunities do to things a bit differently in the future. Our goal is to make our hometown more environmentally, culturally and fiscally sustainable without threatening our treasured home town authentic character. And we should take as long as is necessary to accomplish the mission.
We have more work to do and we need your engagement if we are to succeed with a new code.
Let’s work together.
Take a minute to read the story below. It may make you laugh and it may make your cry, but there is some important meat in its words.