Marina development meeting raises new options, concerns

emoody@beaufortgazette.comApril 22, 2014 

  • In other business, council:

    • Met in closed-door session to receive legal advice. No further information was given.
    • Proclaimed the second weekend in May as Pvt. Haywood Treadwell Commemoration Weekend and Confederate Memorial Day.
    • Revealed the city's 2014 Certificate of Achievement Recognition from the Government Finance Officers Association, for the city's transparent financial reports.
    • Established a Park and Tree Advisory Commission and appointed Barb Farrior, Jim Arnett, Michael Brock, William Waskiewicz and Brian Coffman to the group.
    • Granted approval for the annual Memorial Day Parade on May 26.
    • Appointed Quinn Peitz Jr., Chuck Syme and Barbara Laurie and reappointed chairman Joel Newman to the Historic District Review Board.

While the conversation Tuesday revolved around the potential development of the Beaufort Downtown Marina parking lot -- and a general desire of Beaufort City Council to slow the process -- officials and audience members expressed a number of concerns about the project.

The discussion came during a work session to follow up on concerns from a meeting last week.

Some council members want to hold off on a vote to rezone the 4.2-acre property until they had concrete plans from developers. Those members also want to reexamine the development agreement.

The agreement was approved in November and involved city council, the city Redevelopment Commission, and Historic Marina Partners LLC developers Jim Chaffin and Steve Navarro. Any changes would require the approval of all parties.

Council has two basic options for changing the agreement, city planner Libby Anderson said.

It could use a planned unit development, which would require a conceptual master plan.

It could also formally add plan and review requirements to the agreement.

Some council members said they aren't interested in making changes, however.

"I'm not comfortable asking a developer to move forward on something that I'm not going to support," Councilman Mike Sutton said, saying he's heard clearly from residents that they don't want development at the site.

"We've gotten a lot of new information in the last four weeks that tells me the thinking I had in the beginning is not what the citizens want," he said.

Resident Kathy Lindsay said she's been on the phone with state officials talking about the grants used to build the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park. She brought packets of maps and information to share, illustrating her concerns that part of the land eyed for development has restrictions that severely curtail its use.

Mayor Billy Keyserling said the marina project is not going to move forward quickly so attention should be on projects that can be turned around to create economic benefits.

Resident Will Achurch asked that the marina development process not be shut down prematurely. He sees the development as one that will bring in tax revenue.

"Wait and see what the plan is before you put your foot down and say you don't want the plan at all," he said.

Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.

Related content:

  • City Council delays vote on Beaufort Downtown Marina rezoning, April 15, 2014: http://bit.ly/1gP4T4I
  • Online petition for park at Beaufort Downtown Marina parking lot gathers steam, April 14, 2014: http://bit.ly/1lByDd8
  • Marina parking lot development plan draws fire at public hearing, April 8, 2014: http://bit.ly/1n6ZJsd

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