Individuals and groups who rent the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park or portions of it for a private, exclusive event will now have to pay more based on a new rate structure.
Beaufort City Council members unanimously approved the new rates -- which apply only to the Waterfront Park -- as part of a special events policy that streamlines the application and approval process for use of any city park.
Instead of renting by the day, Beaufort will now rent the entire park or portions of it by the hour.
The new rate structure divides the park into four different sections.
For example, it currently costs $125 to rent the pavilion overlooking the Beaufort River for a day or $500 for the entire park.
Under the new rates, the pavilion costs $350 for a four-hour block or $500 for a six-hour increment.
The entire park now costs $2,200 for a 12-hour block.
The new fees are noticeably lower than those suggested when council first started looking at raising rates last summer.
At the time, staff suggested renting the entire park for $1,500 an hour and the pavilion for $300 per hour, but ultimately decided to reduce those prices.
Charlotte Brown, an organizer with the Gullah Festival, asked council members how the new policy would affect her organization.
The new rate structure and additional policy details do not apply to what City Council members call Beaufort's four annual heritage festivals -- the Gullah Festival, the Beaufort Water Festival, the Shrimp Festival and A Taste of Beaufort.
Organizers with those events will continue to negotiate with city staff on an annual basis, members said.
The new special events policy clearly defines what the renter and city are responsible for, what city services would be required for each event and the associated costs, officials said.
If an event is approved, those details will be laid out in a memorandum of understanding that will serve as a special event permit.
The special events policy also goes into greater detail on how an organizer can ensure every vendor involved with a specific event has a proper business license.