Beaufort City Council eyes Greenlawn Drive improvements, developments

emoody@beaufortgazette.comJune 24, 2014 

  • In other business, council:

    • discussed problems with anchoring moorings for the Beaufort Downtown Marina. The contractor discovered rock at the bottom of the Beaufort River was breaking up, and a new anchoring system is being planned, harbormaster Rick Griffin said.
    • Granted initial approval to election-related dates and filing fees for candidates in the Nov. 4 election. A second vote is expected in July. The filing period would begin with that second vote and end at noon Aug. 15. The filing fee is $150.
    • Approved co-sponsoring -- with the Chamber of Commerce -- an F-35B welcoming celebration July 11 in the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park. That celebration will include a fireworks display.
    • Discussed changes to dates related to payments of accommodation tax money to the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce. The changes will not affect the amount the chamber receives.
    • Heard no comments during a public hearing on the rezoning of 701, 705, 706 and 708 Carteret St. from office commercial to neighborhood commercial. The change would allow retail, salons and restaurants.
    • Met in closed-door session to discuss personnel matters.

The city of Beaufort is considering ways to smooth development in the Greenlawn Drive area.

At a meeting Tuesday night, council voted on two related actions.

The first would set aside money to plan for road improvements such as sidewalks, lighting and landscaping, city planner Libby Anderson said.

The second would make the permitting process easier for developers, city manager Scott Dadson said.

Mayor Billy Keyserling said city officials want to leverage the $26.8 million set aside for Boundary Street project improvements -- which is related to the Greenlawn proposals -- to encourage private development.

Council granted initial approval to making $100,000 available from a special tax district fund for planning, surveying and preliminary engineering costs for those streetscape efforts. To start construction, developers will need definitive plans of where sidewalks and other features are going, Anderson said.

A second vote in expected July 8.

Council also approved a resolution to pay for the planning -- and, later, the construction -- as money becomes available. The resolution sets no timeframe.

The resolution further says developers will be encouraged -- but not required -- to do the city's planned street and sidewalk improvements near their properties. They will not be charged permit fees for that street work.

A North Carolina developer plans to build 56 apartments on Greenlawn Drive behind the Bi-Lo in Beaufort Town Center with the help of a federal tax credit for affordable housing.

Ashley Pointe Apartments would consist of five buildings and a community clubhouse on 5 acres, according to plans submitted to the city by Greenway Residential Development LLC.

Developer 303 Associates has also submitted plans for a residential Marsh Gardens apartment complex. Principle Dick Stewart said the plan is still in development.

It would consist of 21 buildings with 137 apartments along Greenlawn and in the property bordered by Pearl and Queen streets.

Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.

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