Beaufort council considers loosening vehicle display restrictions

emoody@beaufortgazette.comFebruary 14, 2012 

  • In other business, the Beaufort City Council:

  • Revoked the 2012 business license of hotdog vendor Dogs on Wheels. The vendor has a spot on the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park but has not been there since October, and it owes hospitality taxes for June through September, city manager Scott Dadson said.

  • Permitted Dadson to proceed with a contract to lease land, warehouse and office space to The Greenery, which has a contract to provide city landscaping. The 12-month lease, at $2,500 per month, is for unused property at the city's public works facility at 16 Burton Hill Road.

  • Heard a "catch-up" report on finances from July 1, the start of the 2011-12 fiscal year, to Dec. 31 from finance director Cathy Todd. The city has brought in $4,224,822 in revenue and spent $7,053,067. Todd said revenue is expected to pick up as 2012 property taxes come in, starting Jan. 1.

With two automotive dealerships building new facilities in Beaufort, city officials are considering loosening rules on how businesses display vehicles for sale.

Two amendments to loosen restrictions were initially approved by the City Council on Tuesday. Both require second votes.

The changes would allow businesses more space to show vehicles in front of their buildings, keep vehicle hoods open and use balloons and other attention-grabbing displays.

Vaden Automotive Group of Beaufort and Stokes Honda Cars of Beaufort are building new dealerships.

Councilman George O'Kelley was concerned this could allow other businesses to display merchandise near roads.

Planning director Libby Anderson pointed out there are restrictions that items typically used inside, like furniture and mattresses, cannot be displayed more than five feet from buildings.

Outdoor merchandise displays, especially of indoor items, has been controversial, and Mayor Billy Keyserling said he hoped the council was "not opening the gates on something that not too long ago we had to rein in."

Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/EyeonBeaufort.

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