Beaufort News

Beaufort City Council to consider allowing gas stations to have more pumps

Beaufort City Council will soon consider lifting a cap on the number of pumps permitted at gas stations throughout the city as well as new design standards that would make the stations more attractive.

After extensive review, Beaufort's planning staff recommended that no limits be placed on the number of pumps at stations in areas along Robert Smalls Parkway and Boundary Street west of Ribaut Road. Initially, staff had recommended that council only allow up to six pumps at those stations.

The Beaufort-Port Royal Joint Municipal Planning Commission has also recommended lifting the cap.

Council reviewed the recommendations during a workshop Tuesday.

Beaufort began looking at the issue after attorney David Tedder told city council he has clients whose plans for gas stations don't jibe with existing city regulations. Tedder applied to change those rules.

Beaufort currently limits the number of individual fueling stations to eight -- four pumps that can each serve two vehicles at a time -- at all gas stations.

An applicant who wants more pumps must seek a variance from the city's Zoning Board of Appeals.

Staff recommended that fuel sales in all other areas of the city be by special exception, meaning the zoning board of appeals would have final say on how many pumps are allowed.

The recommendation also proposes only allowing two gas stations at major intersections and one at minor intersections.

Council is scheduled to hear a first reading of the proposed changes Tuesday.

Also during the workshop, Council:

  • Reviewed a proposed contract in which the Beaufort County Open Land Trust would partner for free with the city in open space protection, park operations, future conservation purchases, easement drafting and negotiations, among other things. Council expects to discuss this more at its regular meeting Tuesday and vote on it at a further date.
  • Council also talked briefly with Trust Executive Director Ann Bluntzer about her organization's goal of finding a more attractive display for community announcements such as festival banners at the intersection of Ribaut Road and Bay Street, property the Trust owns, Bluntzer said.

  • Discussed the city's recently reinstated Tourism Management Advisory Committee. Council plans to fill committee openings soon.
  • Council has said it wants the committee in place since existing contracts for the right to operate a horse carriage company in the city are set to expire next year. Beaufort only allows two companies to operate and traditionally puts the spots up for bid every five years.

    Council said it also wanted a vision for what Beaufort's tourism industry should look like in the future.

    It directed the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce's Visitor and Convention Bureau to work with partners throughout the city on that vision, including the types of services and attractions involved and the primary areas affected.