Beaufort considers 'floating hotel' at downtown marina

emoody@beaufortgazette.comDecember 11, 2012 

The Charlestonian, a 93-foot yacht, is shown moored Tuesday evening at the Downtown Marina in Beaufort. Its owners hope city ordinances will be amended to allow overnight stays in the marina so the yacht can operate as a floating hotel.

SARAH WELLIVER, STAFF PHOTO



  • discussed a request from Port Royal to consider reworking the boundaries in the area of 599 Robert Smalls Parkway. Port Royal is considering an annexation request for the former Beaufort Glass Co. Inc.

  • heard a presentation from Main Street Beaufort, USA on proposed activities and projects for 2013. Main Street is holding marketing meetings this week. Information: www.downtownbeaufort.com

  • discussed the tree trimming SCE&G is proposing throughout the city in 2013 and ways to work with the company on relocating lines to reduce trimming.

  • swore Councilmen Mike McFee and George O'Kelley Jr. and Mayor Billy Keyserling into office for four-year terms.

  • approved the first reading of an ordinance to rezone 308 Charles St. from office commercial to neighborhood commercial. A second vote is needed but has not been scheduled. Keyserling recused himself because he is a co-owner of the property.

The owner of a 93-foot yacht wants to open a boat motel, a proposal city of Beaufort officials are calling a "botel."

The Charlestonian is tied up in the Beaufort Downtown Marina and owner Andrae Boat Co., is asking the city to change an ordinance so overnight guest are allowed in the area know as a conservation preservation district. Such a district is designed to protect wildlife refuges, natural areas, outdoor recreational space and areas that flood periodically.

The boat would provide up to five guest rooms and would not tour waterways, according to the request made Tuesday night at a city council meeting.

The Planning Commission and city staff recommend council consider allowing the floating hotels on a conditional basis. City planner Libby Anderson said the proposal is "basically a floating hotel" since it is not part of a tour package.

The Redevelopment Commission was supportive of the idea at last week's meeting, Anderson said, as long as the number of such facilities are limited and don't impede the downtown master plan.

Floating hotel conditions:

  • operation in an approved marina or mooring field.

  • those facilities with more than one guest room must have an onsite manager when rooms are occupied.

  • operators must submit a management plan to the city that covers guest management, fire safety, water supply, sanitation disposal and cleaning.

  • No more than six botels can be in operation at a given time.

  • Annual license renewal will be contingent on compliance with the conditions.

  • Beaufort marina manager Rick Griffin wrote to the city in support of the request, saying such a facilty would bring "high-end guests to downtown Beaufort who will eat in restaurants and shop in the stores."

    Five residents and nearby property owners wrote letters objecting to any change in the ordinance.

    Bluff resident Stephen P. Hughes wrote a floating hotel could have negative environmental consequences.

    Owner Ted Andrae told council he was willing to cooperate with the city on conditions and he hoped the ordinance could be revised.

    The change would need to be voted on twice by City Council to go into effect.

    Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/EyeonBeaufort.

    Related content:

    Beaufort City Council considers request to rezone Charles Street property, Nov. 27, 2012

    Tree board considers tougher rules on tree cutting , Jan. 22, 2011

    Beaufort Council approves day dock, water sports building proposal, Oct. 23, 2012

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