Beaufort City Council removes Historic Beaufort Foundation’s official recommendation for seat on review board

Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 4:28 PM EDT
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BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - A development code change in Beaufort that has been making its way through the city’s government for the past couple of months reached its final decision at Tuesday night’s city council meeting.

Beaufort City Council had its final vote on removing the Historic Beaufort Foundation’s ability to recommend someone for the city’s Historic Review Board. The Beaufort Development Code clause states that two members of the board must be in professions related to history or architecture, and the other three have to live in or own property in the historic district.

The Historic Beaufort Foundation, a non-governmental organization, no longer has an official recommendation for who one of these people can be. Councilman Josh Scallate, who voted for the change, said it’s about equality in the decision-making process. He said if he had to choose between two candidates, he would not want to have a bias towards one candidate since they were officially recommended by the foundation.

During Tuesday night’s meeting, Scallate said this decision is the result of underlying issues.

“There was a comment made and it’s the third time that it’s been made, ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it’ but I do find it telling that so many of you raised your hand in regards to how you’re unhappy with the development that’s coming out of the ground to date. That tells me that whether we want to admit it or not, something is broken, and so you dive in and try to figure out where,” Scallate said.

Scallate and Mayor Stephen Murray said that they respect the work that the Historic Beaufort Foundation has done and continues to do.

The foundation’s executive director, Cynthia Jenkins, said she is terribly disappointed, and calls the decision short-sighted.