City & 303 Associates sued for alleged violations of City Code; injunction sought

The City of Beaufort and 303 Associates, the largest owner of commercial properties in Beaufort’s nine-square-block historic downtown core commercial district, were sued today in the Court of Common Pleas by two downtown property owners, West Street Farms, LLC, and Mix Farms, LLC, for alleged violations of the City Code involving three alleged “Large Footprint Buildings” that 303 Associates proposes to construct in the area: a large hotel, a large apartment building, and a large parking garage.

The lawsuit is the culmination of a war of words conducted during the past several weeks between Richard Stewart, owner of 303 Associates, and various citizens. The Beaufort Tribune has been following these developments and refers readers to various news and opinion articles heretofore published.

The two plaintiffs are South Carolina limited liability companies owned by Graham Bowen Trask, a Beaufort native who resides in Geneva, Switzerland. His companies own properties adjacent to 303 Associates’ proposed buildings.

The plaintiffs are seeking a declaratory judgment that:

  • “Neither the Hotel Project, the Parking Garage Project, nor the Apartment Project have received a Special Exception from the ZBOA [Zoning Board of Appeals].”
  • “Neither the Hotel Project, the Parking Garage Project, nor the Apartment Project may proceed with any construction, alteration or improvement on those project sites with first receiving a Special Exception for each project from the ZBOA.”
  • “All prior approvals by the City that were issued without the prerequisite Special Exception permitting by the ZBOA are null, void and of no effect.”

The plaintiffs further are seeking:

  • A permanent injunction “prohibiting the Developer from taking any action to alter, construct or develop either the Hotel Project, the Parking Garage Project or Apartment Project without first obtaining a Special Exception from the ZBOA”
  • “All other injunctive and equitable relief necessary and appropriate to prevent the unlawful development of these projects not in accordance with the Beaufort Code”.

A complete text of the Complaint will be published by The Beaufort Tribune as soon as it can be obtained from the court.

Editor’s Note: Graham Bowen Trask, the owner of the two companies that are the plaintiffs in this lawsuit, is the son of the Editor/Publisher of The Beaufort Tribune. Neither The Beaufort Tribune nor its Editor/Publisher has any ownership interest in the two plaintiff companies.