On June 30 The Post and Courier presented a commentary written by Virginia Bush in her role as president of the Charlestowne Neighborhood Association. It can be best described as a diatribe against the activities of the Beach Company in trying to subvert the will of her association, the BAR and the residents of the neighborhood.
While not intending to be apologists for the Beach Company, we have noted that during the years preceding its formal request for approval, the Beach Company sought public comment in a series of forums concerning the proposed designs.
Since its formal request, the Beach Company has offered several different approaches to the development of the property, all of which were opposed by Ms. Bush’s organization as well as the BAR and other neighborhood associations.
Many residents felt that earlier designs were the best, although there was considerable disagreement regarding details. For example, some felt a grocery store was a real benefit, reducing the need to drive off the peninsula for shopping.
Others felt it would diminish the neighborhood, bringing in noise and traffic. While opinions regarding details differed, one area of almost universal agreement was that we don’t want to face the prospect of looking at the current structure for the next 40 years.
Organizations such as Ms. Bush’s Charlestowne Neighborhood Association can and should act as good stewards in helping to manage inevitable increases in density but they cannot hope to completely stop density increases.
Such organizations can either function as good faith seekers of compromise as the city grows and its culture changes, or become obstructionists trying to micromanage both architectural style and growth. Ms. Bush’s organization has seemed to focus more on obstruction rather than compromise.
The time has come to accept the fact that compromise is required. Granted, none of the protagonists will get what they prefer but there has to be a reasonable route to ensuring that something better than the current structure is finally built. So let’s stop the saber rattling about possible legal action, more public input leading to further confusion, and accept the proposed design as better than the alternative.