Parking solution could be tied to Lafayette Street project

emoody@beaufortgazette.comDecember 5, 2011 

A plan to build affordable housing in Pigeon Point has some residents concerned it would leave those using recreational fields nearby nowhere to park.

But city of Beaufort officials think they have a solution: Give the land to a development company on the condition it provide parking for the Basil Green Recreational Complex.

The city wants a private developer to build affordable housing on an empty lot it owns at 1403 Lafayette St. That would return the property to the city's tax rolls.

But the land has been used, unofficially, as a parking lot for residents and visitors to the recreational complex who want to avoid getting a ticket for parking on nearby Rodgers Street.

Rodgers Street resident Enrique Lorenzo said he often lets people park in his yard when spaces fill up at the complex.

"It's usually in the summer -- that's when everyone is looking for a place to park," he said. Without a parking space, he said, "they'd just go. They don't want to get a ticket."

At a Redevelopment Commission meeting last week, city officials and commission members discussed asking the developer who wins the contract for the project to add parking spaces at the complex. In return, the Lafayette Street plot would be given to the developer.

It's not a new idea, and commission members say that by lowering costs for a developer, prices would in turn be lower for buyers.

"This project, in my mind, has to succeed, and I think, in my mind, this is how it's going to succeed," commission vice chairman Michael McNally said.

The commission is developing a request for proposals. Designs could range from single-family, detached homes to buildings for as many as four families. Homes could have between one and three bedrooms.

The commission hopes public-service employees -- such as teachers, firefighters or police officers -- would purchase the housing. It is intended for middle-class workers -- for example, a household of four with an income between $55,000 and $82,000.

Plans developed by the city's Office of Civic Investment would add 244 parking spots to the recreational complex, said Josh Martin, an office consultant. Still to be determined is the property's zoning and whether rental units would be allowed. Martin said most are residents who prefer owner-occupied homes.

"There's no appetite in the neighborhood to add rentals because they already have a plethora of them," commission member and City Councilman Mike McFee said.

Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/EyeOnBeaufort.

The Island Packet is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service