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The City of Beaufort is a 300-year-old municipality with rich history, iconic architecture, and a unique cultural identity.  In 2017, the City adopted a form-based “Beaufort Code” to aid the City in retaining its identity as development pressures increased.  The need to grow responsibly was a widely understood goal of the community.  With the departure of the Community Development Director, MRB Group contracted with the City to staff the Director position and perform as the Administrator of the Beaufort Code.  Senior Planner Riccardo Giani splits his time between the Charleston office and Beaufort.  As the former Director of Planning in Natchez, Mississippi, Rico understands the workings of local government.

In this position, MRB Group was able to effectively assess the current conditions of the department while simultaneously maintaining and operating the development review process for ongoing and incoming development projects.  From the start, Rico worked with City staff to fully understand the current initiatives of the City, reviewing the Comprehensive Plan, Strategic Plan, and Civic Master Plan to adapt to this unique environment effectively.

Specifically, the services rendered to the City of Beaufort during this agreement include, but are not limited to: serving as the City’s representative to the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBOA) and Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC); reviewing applications, and preparing staff reports to the ZBOA and MPC; issuance of administrative approvals; coordination with departmental staff and City leadership regarding ongoing projects; and ensuring that all projects conform with the Beaufort Code, Civic Master Plan, Comprehensive Plan, and Strategic Plan adopted by the City.

MRB Group is running a regional search for the new Director and Senior Planner during this interim service.  Director of Southeast Operations Heather Simmons Jones and Rico are leading the effort with assistance from Administrative Coordinator Katie McFarland.  Once the Director and Planner start, Rico will remain temporarily to ensure a seamless transition.