May 18, 2022
TO THE EDITOR:
I recently attended the Planning Board meeting at the Beaufort Train Depot on May 16th. One of the items on the agenda was regarding the proposed Salt Wynds development in Beaufort. It has been a controversial proposal based on the fact that it will be on land next to Gibb's Creek, the last water in Beaufort allowed to have shell fishing due to its cleanliness.
There were a number of very well researched, well thought out presentations made by the citizens of Beaufort as well as the Director of our local River Watch organization. For the second time since I have been following the proceedings of the Planning Board regarding this proposal, the lawyer for the developer, Beth Clifford, went up to the podium to object to the comments being made by these citizens.
He insinuated that they had no right to make these comments and that the Planning Board members had no right to even consider what was being said even though there were many important facts presented. I wish I had had the courage to also go to the podium and state that every citizen of Beaufort has the right to present their point of view to any board. That is called “civic duty” and incredibly responsible behavior.
The board does have guidelines they are responsible to follow and unfortunately, they are very limited at this time in spite of up-to-date research that shows we have to be very careful in developing this area. There was a very strong awareness by the end of the evening that the updated guidelines for development in this environmentally sensitive area need to be put in place as soon as possible. The proposal for the development was passed and it will proceed.
I just want to reiterate that it is my understanding that any citizen has the right and the freedom to present their research and concerns. It's called “caring for your community.” Public opinion done in a respectful way is part of the democratic process.
I have nothing but respect for the Planning Board members...they have a very tough job. As Mr. Neve, Chair of the Planning Board, stated at the end, they hope that for future proposals they have more “tools in the box” to base their decisions on so this can be a responsibly developed town and community.