Beaufort News

Port Royal annexes, zones mixed-use controversial Cypress Street property

After six years and several attempts, Yunhi Flores' home is now part of Port Royal.

On two divided votes, the five-member town council approved both the annexation and rezoning of the 1001 Cypress St. property to allow it to be used as a residence or a business.

Councilman Vernon DeLoach cast the sole vote against the annexation, and he and Mary Beth Heyward voted against the rezoning.

Flores originally said she wanted to open a seafood market on the property, but said last week she now wants the mixed-use zoning so that one day her 12-year-old son could open an architectural office there. The multi-use zoning granted by council would allow single-family homes, multi-family homes, small shops and offices.

"I'm going to just leave it up to you guys," Flores said before the vote.

Heyward's concern centered around the traffic and congestion already in the area, which has been helped but not eliminated by a recently installed stoplight at Parris Island Gateway and Savannah Highway.

DeLoach said that if he lived in the area, he would not want the property to be used as a business. He also had concerns about traffic. He wanted to postpone a decision until those concerns were addressed.

"Pretty soon that highway is going to be zoom, zoom, zoom," he said.

Town planner Linda Bridges said it's impossible to predict what the proposed form-based code would call for the property to be. Such a code relies more on building appearance than use.

Although about a dozen residents spoke against the rezoning during a heated public hearing last week, only Heather Fleury did so Wednesday night. She did not oppose the annexation, but did argue against any zoning that would allow a business. Neighborhood convenant restrictions do not allow businesses, she said.

Last week, town manager Van Willis said council could choose to allow the zoning, but any permits to open a business would have to wait until the restrictions are resolved.

Mayor Sam Murray and Shell Point resident Robbie Robertson apologized to Flores for the way people spoke to her during the public hearing last week. Murray said he received a complaint from an audience member, whom he did not name.

"We treated you quite shabbily, and on behalf of the residents of Shell Point, I apologize," Robertson said. "...We can come here and we can have our differences without personally attacking people."

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