A flea market in northern Beaufort County is set to move its operations indoors in a compromise to end a zoning dispute involving the county and Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.
Beaufort Liquidation's outdoor Lowcountry Flea Market, located about three miles from the air station's main gate, is within a "compatible-use" zone that restricts what businesses can do because of concerns about noise from fighter jets flying overhead. The company received permission to continue operating the market temporarily, but a tie vote Jan. 27 by County Council left future permission undecided.
A compromise between county leaders, air station representatives and Beaufort Liquidation owner Jeff Lowe would end the outdoor flea market but allow the company to use more of its indoor space than would otherwise be allowed inside the compatible-use zone, according to county officials.
County Council will likely vote on the compromise at its meeting next Monday, county attorney Josh Gruber said.
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Attempts Tuesday to reach Lowe and his attorney, David Tedder, for comment were unsuccessful.
"I think this will be a good agreement for all of us to work on," County Councilman Brian Flewelling said Monday.
Beaufort Liquidation relocated in May from Robert Smalls Parkway to the former 84 Lumber building at 5 Parker Drive, just across Trask Parkway from air station property.
Zoning rules for the "compatible-use" areas around the air station restrict the amount of indoor space businesses can use and prohibit operations outside.
Since opening last summer, the outdoor flea market has been allowed to operate each Saturday and Sunday with the permission of the county's planning department, but a zoning amendment is required to allow it to operate permanently, County Council Chairman Paul Sommerville said.
Air station representatives worry that allowing the outdoor flea market to continue would undermine zoning rules meant to keep businesses from encroaching on the station. That might interfere with the air station's ability to take on new missions, according to air station community plans and liaison director Jason Mann.
"It's not about the flea market," Sommerville said. "It's about protecting what the Marine Corps says is a critical protection to their ability to maintain their operations."
Follow reporter Zach Murdock at twitter.com/IPBG_Zach.