A BAR embarrassment
Charleston’s Board of Architectural Review was slated on Wednesday to consider one of the most controversial projects to come to its attention in recent years: the Clemson Architecture Center.
Unfortunately for the many people who showed up at the meeting to weigh in, or just to listen to the debate, the BAR was unable to consider the matter.
That’s because the seven-member board couldn’t get a quorum of members who weren’t in some way associated with the project or Clemson’s architectural program in Charleston.
So the BAR’s big meeting came and went, leaving many disappointed attendees, particularly those who took the trouble to come from out of town.
The matter will be taken up again when a former BAR member can be pressed into emergency duty to make up a quorum.
It was certainly surprising to learn that so many BAR members have a link with Clemson’s Charleston office. And properly, those members recused themselves.
But the BAR should have been prepared for that contingency in advance. The board should been ready to conduct its business as advertised, particularly on a high-profile issue like the architecture center.
Clemson already has had a dispute over the center, and consequently abandoned its initial plans for a building on George Street. The current plan is opposed by the Ansonborough neighborhood, where the building would be located, and by the Preservation Society of Charleston, which wants it built elsewhere.
It was to be expected that one side or the other would have been disappointed by the outcome of Wednesday’s meeting. As it turned out, both sides had something to complain about.