Public hearing, vote planned for Beaufort Downtown Marina parking lot

emoody@beaufortgazette.comMarch 18, 2014 

Beaufort City Council members and members of the public at a work session March 18, 2014, to move forward with rezoning the parking lot of the Downtown Marina.

STAFF PHOTO

  • In other business, council:

    • Discussed leasing small areas of the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park to YoYo's Ice Cream and Plums restaurant.
    • Met in closed-door session to discuss land acquisition.

Beaufort City Council hashed out a plan for moving forward with rezoning the Beaufort Downtown Marina parking lot during a work session Tuesday.

The rezoning, called for in an agreement between the city and developers Historic Marina Partners, LLC, has been a point of contention for a number of residents who content the land should not be rezoned until there is a plan for it.

Developers will present a written plan for the parking lot at 6 p.m. March 26 at City Hall, 1911 Boundary St.

City staff was directed to advertise a public hearing on the rezoning for April 8.

Council's first vote will be April 22. While a second and final vote could be months away, the move at least gets the process going, Councilwoman Donnie Beer said.

"First reading isn't going to do anything, but it might give (the developers) comfort we're going to do something," she said.

Redevelopment Commission member and marina parking lot project leader Alan Dechovitz said that sense of momentum is important for keeping Historic Marina Partners from walking away.

"The longer it takes to get there, the more chance we have to discourage them, or discourage their creativity, or for something to go amiss," he said. "I encourage you to keep moving."

Councilman Mike Sutton said that in the meantime, he wants the developers to begin going through other advisory boards, such as the Historic District Review Board, which focuses specifically on building design.

Council members had discussed holding off on a first vote until after a visual plan was submitted, but decided against it.

The rezoning originally hit a snag in January when some residents noticed Freedom Mall, a open green space next to the parking lot, was included in the rezoning plan. That area has since been removed.

Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.

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