Setting the record straight

  • Friday, May 30, 2014

To the Editor:

I was disappointed with the recent letter to the editor by Town of Pawleys Island Mayor Bill Otis in which Otis endorses Bob Anderson and describes the firing of Mr. Steve Goggans and the rest of the Georgetown County Architectural Review Board (The Review Board).

I also served on that board, until also being fired and I would like to set the record straight. The Review Board, before being fired, was comprised of 6 appointees which included four local design professionals (including two architects, a landscape architect, an engineer, and two additional appointees). Mr. Goggans was one of the architects who also served as Chairman.

The subject of the meeting which led to our firing was a variance request by Sunbelt Developers regarding the amount of roof which had to be sloped on one of its buildings. Under the ordinance, 50 percent of all roofs must be sloped within the Overlay District. The Review Board voted to grant the variance on a vote of 5 to 1. All four of the design professionals voted to grant the variance to Sunbelt.

The basis for the Review Board granting the variance has been previously articulated by Mr. Goggans.

In short, the complex was comprised of a number of existing buildings. Under the existing ordinance, if a building is not improved by more than 50 percent of its value, then the new improvements aren’t required to meet new ordinance requirements.

In other words, if Sunbelt had improved the complex by less than half its total value, then all of the roofs on the existing buildings could have remained flat! Interestingly, when taken as a whole, in its new design, Sunbelt had sloped roofs over more than half of the complex—it fell slightly short on the portion of the complex that will house the new Publix.

A majority of those of us on the Review Board felt the developer had made a reasonable effort to comply, so we voted to grant the variance.

As a supporter of Steve Goggans’ candidacy, there are a few other things I think the public should know:

The Overlay District for the Waccamaw Neck is, in large part, due to Steve Goggans, as he led the effort to establish the Overlay District several years ago. He also wrote the design guidelines for the Overlay District. Therefore, I have trouble imagining who would understand the guidelines better than he.

Apart from the technicalities above, the actions of the Review Board offered the opportunity to renovate a well known eyesore, and tired collection of buildings within the Pawleys Island mainland community.

The actions of Bob Anderson and County Council to fire the Review Board after it rendered a decision it didn’t like, is one more example of why new leadership is needed now in District 6. Please support Steve Goggans and vote on June 10th.

Thomas P. Bevins, PE

Pawleys Island

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