IMPORTANT OPPORTUNITY TO SPEAK UP WITH YOUR COMMENTS REGARDING THE CONDITIONS & INTEGRITY STUDY OF BEAUFORT’S NATIONAL HISTORIC LANDMARK DISTRICT.
Almost two years ago, the National Park Service (NPS) embarked on a Conditions and Integrity Study of Beaufort’s National Historic Landmark DIstrict with the intent of assessing the district’s current condition, recognizing local preservation successes, identifying key threats and proposing guidance to ensure the “Integrity” of the historic district is retained.
The Park Service announced this past week that the preliminary study is available for review and is offering a process for online comments to gain public input before finalizing the report. DEADLINE FOR PROVIDING PUBLIC COMMENT IS MARCH 11, 2023.
The Report identifies the following challenges that if not addressed threaten the integrity of our National Historic Landmark District. (PAGE 89 OF THE REPORT)
- Visual Compatibility – there is concern regarding the visual compatibility of new buildings that is rooted in the enforcement and interpretation of adopted design review standards!
- Adoption of a Form-Based Code – The new code has led to incompatible infill and – at times – conflicts with historic preservation ordinances as well as other ordinances and has resulted in a LOSS OF INTEGRITY OF SETTING, DESIGN & MATERIALS.
- Other City Ordinance and Policies Require Revision – Ordinances and policies as currently written do not always contribute to the District’s integrity and preservation.
- Loss of Integrity of Association – Specific areas within the NHL district have lost the integrity of Association. This is particularly true of the historically African American Northwest Quadrant neighborhood.
- Demolitions and Infill Construction – has led to a shift in development patterns that is not always appropriate.
- Right of Way Easements – controlled by the South Carolina Department of Transportation and Dominion Energy have incurred negative effects to the NHL, particularly in the Northwest Quadrant neighborhood.
- Large-Scale Community Development Projects – The District’s Integrity of Location and Setting has been eroded by large scale projects.
Most importantly, the Report recognizes the importance that our “ordinances promote and require infill construction that is visually compatible, with the greatest emphasis placed on form, mass and scale. New buildings that are substantially taller and wider than their surrounding neighbors or have significantly more lot coverage than those within the immediate context, are incompatible and a DETRIMENT TO THE OVERALL INTEGRITY OF SETTING WITHIN THE BNHLD.”
The Report further recognizes that “While one intrusion may be damaging, multiple instances of weak standards, variances, and other inappropriate alterations can lead to cumulative damage and an irreparable loss of integrity.”
The Park Service has suggested 4 Topic Questions to be addressed. While all 4 are important we believe that #2 that addresses proposed development plans is the most important to the preservation of Beaufort. A link to the online comment page and report is below.
HOW CAN YOU BE HEARD?
The NPS is providing a process for online comment through March 11, 2023. You may review the report and respond with your online comments by clicking the link below.PLEASE SPEAK UP FOR THE INTEGRITY OF OUR NATIONAL HISTORIC LANDMARK DISTRICT AND OUR QUALITY OF LIFE!