Beaufort News

City of Beaufort to consider zoning change to allow indoor entertainment

Some Beaufort residents are concerned about a proposed change to zoning rules that would allow indoor entertainment businesses in limited industrial districts.

City officials are considering allowing indoor entertainment -- such as health clubs, gymnastic centers, indoor pools, dance studios and bowling alleys -- by special exception in the districts that usually are limited to light industrial businesses.

Beaufort planning director Libby Anderson said the city has received inquiries about opening a health club in the limited industrial district on Baggett Street and a dance studio in the Beaufort Engineering Services Building on Depot Road.

The city decided to file an application to allow indoor entertainment by special exception because "it just seemed to make sense," she said.

City Council members will discuss the issue today at their monthly workshop.

Some residents, like Angela Hegstrom and Lisa Bryan, worry that allowing indoor entertainment would disrupt nearby neighborhoods and attract more traffic and noise. The two neighbors on Bull Street live near the limited industrial district at Depot Road, which includes the Beaufort Engineering Services Building and a staging area for county EMS vehicles.

"This is a rezoning, essentially," Hegstrom said at a Sept. 28 council meeting. "It's not permitted in those areas for a reason. ... I don't feel comfortable it being allowed by special exception."

According to the existing ordinance, areas zoned as limited industrial districts should allow for light industrial uses that are not significantly objectionable to surrounding properties in terms of the noise or odors they produce.

To change the ordinance, the council must hold two votes at two separate meetings. If approved, applications for special exceptions would need approval from the Zoning Board of Appeals.