Commission to reconsider city, town growth boundaries

emoody@beaufortgazette.comFebruary 3, 2013 

The Beaufort-Port Royal Metropolitan Planning Commission will discuss changes to its growth boundary -- the mutually agreed upon line between the town of Port Royal and the city of Beaufort that limits annexation.

The discussion started when Craig Freeman, general manager of Barrier Island Marine, decided to open a boat repair and sales business at 599 Robert Smalls Parkway.

The owner of that acre, whom Freeman is renting from, and the owner of 12.7 acres at Forest Lawn Cemetery at the corner of Anderson Lane and Robert Smalls Parkway, have asked that their properties be annexed into Port Royal.

Both properties are in an unincorporated area of Beaufort County.

However, Port Royal cannot annex 599 Robert Smalls Parkway without changing its agreement with the city of Beaufort, because the property is on Beaufort's side of the growth boundary. Annexation is further complicated because the property is not bounded by land already within Port Royal limits, as state law requires.

The municipalities' joint committee will meet for a work session at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Port Royal Town Hall at 700 Paris Ave. to consider changes, which would ultimately need approval from both the city and town councils.

Freeman wants to sell boats, but is not allowed to under the property's current county zoning.

"At this point, I'm going to be happy to be upzoned into either the town of Port Royal or the city of Beaufort," he said.

Port Royal officials sent Freeman to talk with Beaufort officials, and it was determined that the property is five or six parcels away from the closest land in Beaufort. Getting all of those property owners to agree to annexation could take longer than Freeman wants to wait.

However, only one parcel separates Freeman's rented property from Port Royal. His landlord, Frances Rabon, and the owner of that adjacent property, Edna Anderson, have agreed to request annexation. Anderson's property is on Port Royal's side of the growth boundary and can be annexed, Port Royal planner Linda Bridges said.

The growth-boundary limit, however, remains in place unless the town and city agree to changes. Bridges said she has prepared a proposal for Tuesday's work session.

"The (town and city) managers got together, and when they stood back and looked at it from this level, they wondered if there couldn't be a better line drawn, a more sensible line," said Bridges, adding that both municipalities hope for "an equitable, simpler, more straightforward line."

Beaufort planner Libby Anderson said city staff are working with Port Royal to create a line that makes it easier to annex properties in areas where the town and city are growing.

The original boundary was determined by utility lines, Bridges said. Planners are now taking into consideration how the municipalities have grown, and they want to redraw the line based on acreage, location, road frontage and accessed value.

The growth boundary was adopted in about 1998, Bridges said, and it has only been adjusted once, when it was discovered the line cut a development in two. That property is now the Shadow Moss community.

Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.

Related content:

Metropolitan Planning Commission, City Council agendas available, Jan. 14, 2013

Regional planning commission to take a broad view of development, Aug. 11, 2010

Planning panel would bring a unified approach to growth, supporters say, April 12, 2009

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