After three+ hours of testimony in City Council chambers overflowing more than 250 attendees last night, the Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC) voted 6-0 to deny the Whitehall development application by MidCity Partners and local developer Sam Levin.
The development proposal asked for special zoning for the parcel, on which the developers had proposed building seven apartment towers, a 100-unit independent living facility and nearly 20,000 s.f. of retail/commercial space.
“What this decision did was confirm a strict reading of the Civic Master Plan, and the importance of reading The Beaufort Code based on its spirit and intent rather than making it up as we go along, as this application attempted to do,” said Chuck Newton, chairman of the Sea Island Coalition.
“But it also confirmed the importance of the community’s voice and the centrality of the “Five Principles for Future Growth On Lady’s Island” that emerged from the “Designing Lady’s Island” meetings of last Spring.
“Tonight, the resident’s of Lady’s Island had a chance to speak, and they refused to settle for colorless development or false resolutions to problems such as traffic and development density. We’re pleased with the wisdom of the MPC, and hopeful both the City and the County get this message moving forward,” he said.
Newton told the Commission that the Sea Island Corridor Coalition was not standing athwart the future yelling stop, but advocating for smarter development.
“We fully expect to see Whitehall developed at some point. And if the plan is smart and inspired and character-enhancing, the Coalition could be fully supportive.
“But this particular proposal for Whitehall is, in our view, neither smart development, nor inspired development, nor character-enhancing development that will benefit Beaufort now or 20 years from now. It cries out for disapproval,” he said.
MidCity Partners and local developer Sam Levin now have an option to appeal the MPC in Court, return to the drawing board and resubmit a new application, or abandon its initiative entirely.