Please attend these important City meetings by Zoom today and tomorrow

Three important public meetings of the City of Beaufort are being held by Zoom today and tomorrow. All concerned citizens are urged to attend and to express your views during the Public Comment section if allowed. Click below to see agendas with links to attend by Zoom.

Today, Tuesday, April 13

5:00 p.m. Today – City Council Work Session including Executive Session to receive legal advice regarding litigation. No public comment is scheduled.

7:00 p.m. Today – City Council Regular Meeting including Public Comment. Please express your views!

Tomorrow, Wednesday, April 14

2:00 p.m. Tomorrow – Historic District Review Board Meeting including Executive Session to receive legal advice regarding litigation. No public comment is scheduled, which is peculiar. The Tribune is undertaking to find out why.

Literary Beaufort: Ireland’s Final Rebellion 1919-1921 and An American Dream by Michael Gerard

Book review with thanks to Amazon.com: Literary Beaufort: Ireland’s Final Rebellion 1919-1921 and An American Dream by Michael Gerard

Our small town of Beaufort, South Carolina, has had the good fortune to nurture gifted authors over a period of more than 200 years–William Elliott (Carolina Sports by Land and Water) and William J. Grayson (The Hireling and the Slave) in the 19th century; Samuel Hopkins Adams (The Erie Canal and many other inspiring children’s novels), Francis Griswold (A Sea Island Lady, inspired by Gone with the Wind), and Pat Conroy (The Prince of Tides and many other Lowcountry novels) in the 20th century; and now Michael Gerard from Ireland, a long-time Beaufort resident, in the 21st century.
Continue reading

Historic District Review Board drops hotel and parking garage from upcoming Wednesday agenda, adds executive session

The City’s Historic District Review Board (HDRB) today eliminated consideration of final approval of the proposed oversize parking garage and proposed oversize convention hotel in the historic downtown commercial district from its upcoming 2:00 p.m. Wednesday meeting via Zoom. The Board also added an executive session to receive a legal briefing about the recent lawsuit filed against the City and 303 Associates/The Beaufort Inn alleging failure to obtain zoning variances explicitly required by the City Code.

The Tribune published the original agenda last week, click here, which included 250 pages of plans and other information about the proposed hotel and parking garage. Below is the revised agenda with the City’s email notice to the HDRB members of these changes. Continue reading

Resistance: Oldtimer hugs his trees and nails signs against Dominion Energy

Life-long Beaufort resident and retired veterinarian Dr. Bill Sammons, now 80 years old, isn’t going to take the desecration of his palmetto trees lying down. On Thursday he had three of these signs made, and he nailed them onto the palmetto trees lining his homesite on Elliott Street after Dominion Energy’s tree crew arrived to saw the trees down. “They say they’re coming back with a letter to give them permission to destroy my trees”, Sammons told the Tribune as he hugged one of them. “Maybe the City Council and Dominion Energy don’t understand that I’m part of the Resistance. The Resistance is now everywhere in Beaufort, is not going away, and is going to win. Power to the people!”

Editor’s Note: If you are concerned about the direction the City of Beaufort is taking, especially in its Historic District, you are automatically a member of the Beautiful Beaufort Alliance, sponsored by The Beaufort Tribune. Click here to see the goals of the Beautiful Beaufort Alliance and what you can do to help.

Brutalized Beaufort: Dominion Energy’s tree cutters are ashamed of what they’re doing

Above: This ashamed Dominion Energy’ tree cutter hides his face so he can’t be recognized. These men, their elevated buckets, chain saws, tree grinders, and trucks have been all over our beautiful town for the past six weeks slaughtering every tree and limb they can get their destructive hands on. According to the boss of these men, they will return every five years to keep cutting, cutting, cutting.

Editor’s Note: If you are concerned about the direction the City of Beaufort is taking, especially in its Historic District, you are automatically a member of the Beautiful Beaufort Alliance, sponsored by The Beaufort Tribune. Click here to see the goals of the Beautiful Beaufort Alliance and what you can do to help.

Beautiful Beaufort: John Mark Verdier House c. 1790

Located at 801 Bay Street, the John Mark Verdier House is the headquarters of Historic Beaufort Foundation. The exterior of this house was rejuvenated in March 2021 in colors meticulously researched to be authentic to the late 18th century when this house was built. It stands within 75 feet of a proposed 55,000-square-foot, four-story Marriott convention hotel that, if constructed, will tower over the entire historic downtown (see below). Continue reading

Brutalized Beaufort: Church Street in front of St. Helena’s Church

Two stumps are all that remain of 100-year-old palmetto trees that graced the entry to one of South Carolina’s most historic churches, St. Helena’s, which was founded in 1711, thanks to the cutting saws of Dominion Energy, the great Satan who has been intent on destroying the beauty of nature here. Palmettos all over town are falling to Dominion’s chain saws ever hour of every working day and being ground into sawdust. Continue reading

Agenda: Next HDRB meeting via Zoom, Wednesday, April 14, 2:00 p.m. Please attend!

Editor’s comment: Below is the Agenda for the City of Beaufort’s next Historic District Review Board Meeting (HDRB), to be held this coming Wednesday, April 14, at 2:00 p.m. via Zoom. Including the attachments, which are not included below, the agenda package is 250 pages! On the agenda are presentation of proposed changes to the proposed “big box” hotel and final approval of the proposed “big box” parking garage. Please note that there is no mention in this Agenda or the attachments of the lawsuit filed against the City this past  Monday alleging that the City and its HDRB have violated the City Code by failing to enforce the Code’s requirement of a zoning variance for these “big boxes”. Continue reading

Downtown homeowner: Why isn’t City enforcing zoning code for “big box” buildings downtown?

Dear members of Beaufort’s HDRB [Historic District Review Board],

My name is Westley Byrne.  I’m a downtown homeowner, and I’m writing to express my deep concern regarding the hotel, parking garage, and apartment complex that comprise the subject of a lawsuit filed today [Monday, April 5].

I’ve reviewed the Beaufort Code, Preservation Manual, and HDRB and ZBOA [Zoning Board of Appeals] meeting minutes going back several years.  I have to agree with the plaintiffs in the lawsuit that there are code and manual violations that must be addressed before any further actions can be taken. Continue reading

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 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. Continue reading

Who is Cannon? Or what is Cannon?

Inquiring minds ask:  Who is Cannon? Or what is Cannon? Above is a rendering of the apartment building being planned by 303 Associates for the corner of Charles and Port Republic Streets in downtown Beaufort, according to an article published March 31 in The Island News, a local print and on-line newspaper. Click here to see the entire article.

Editor’s Note: If you are concerned about the direction the City of Beaufort is taking, especially in its Historic District, you are automatically a member of the Beautiful Beaufort Alliance, sponsored by The Beaufort Tribune. Click here to see the goals of the Beautiful Beaufort Alliance and what you can do to help.

Editorial: Downtown parking garages are being abandoned and are headed for extinction

Above: Abandoned city parking garage in Meridian, Mississippi.

According to city planners nationwide, downtown parking garages are headed for extinction in cities and towns all over our fair land, to be replaced by ride-hailing services, autonomous cars, golf carts, and conversion of existing garages and planned garages into indoor tennis courts, apartments, etc. Here are articles that explain this trend: Continue reading

Letter to Editor: “Stop the Dick Stewart Convention Center”

March 30, 2021

Dear Editor,

Please inform me and the general public what we can do to stop Historic Downtown Beaufort from being converted to the Dick Stewart Convention Center.

Bob Woodman
Beaufort, SC

Editor’s comment:

If you are concerned about the direction the City of Beaufort is taking, especially in its Historic District, you are automatically a member of the Beautiful Beaufort Alliance, sponsored by The Beaufort Tribune. Click here to see the goals of the Beautiful Beaufort Alliance and what you can do to help.

Lawyer suggests proposed 72-room downtown hotel may not have obtained mandatory zoning variance from City

Above: Scale rendering of proposed 72-room hotel in Beaufort’s historic downtown core-commercial district in comparison to three immediately adjacent commercial buildings owned by Graham B. Trask. Source: Beaufort Design/Build LLC.

The following is a letter delivered today, March 23, by Charleston historic-preservation attorney W. Andrew Gowder, Jr, to William B. Harvey III, Beaufort’s City Attorney. Mr. Gowder is the attorney for downtown Beaufort commercial property owner Graham B. Trask. Continue reading

Fact: Proposed 5 Port Republic Street buildings exceed all 34 existing Bay Street buildings in core commercial district

34 Existing Buildings on Bay Street
700 Block 71,295 sq ft
800 Block 77,888
900 Block 91,914
Total 241,097 sq ft

5 Proposed Buildings Along Port Republic Street
in 700 and 800 Blocks
A- Parking Garage 175,000 sq ft
B-Event Center 5,500
C-Small Hotel 11,000
D-72-Room Hotel 55,000
E-Apartments 29,400
Total 275,900 sq ft

The reason is that the huge proposed buildings along Port Republic Street are as high as four stories and as long as 300 feet in contrast to the existing one- and two-story dramatically smaller buildings on Bay Street, as well as in contrast to the existing buildings on the surrounding Port Republic, Charles, West, Scott, Carteret, and Craven Streets. In other words, the proposed buildings are grossly oversized and out of scale with all existing buildings in the historic downtown core commercial district.

Sources:
Beaufort County GIS map
City of Beaufort

War of words: Dick Stewart comments on Tribune news article

Yesterday, March 21, Dick Stewart sent a one-sentence email message to a local Beaufort resident as his comment on The Beaufort Tribune‘s most recent news article (see below) about his proposed five downtown commercial structures including three massive ones. Mr. Stewart’s message states in its entirety:

“We look forward to sharing the facts with everyone so that reasonable people can develop informed opinions.”

Editor’s comment: Mr. Stewart also sent the above message to 112 cc recipients of his email. They included a number of residents in the Historic District including the editor/publisher of The Beaufort Tribune, but Mr. Stewart did not include the members of City Council nor of the Historic District Review Board. He also did not give any details of how he intends to share “the facts”. The Beaufort Tribune in cooperation with a group of concerned citizens including local architects has undertaken to ascertain “the facts” by studying and analyzing the public records and permits of City Council, the Historic District Review Board, and the Zoning Board of Appeals. Information will be forthcoming in the Tribune including Mr. Stewart’s information if he will share with the Tribune “so that reasonable people can develop informed opinions”.

War of words: President of The Point Neighborhood Association opposes proposed massive downtown buildings

Above: Map of downtown Beaufort’s historic core commercial district highlighting five new buildings proposed by Dick Stewart and his 303 Associates including a massive four-story hotel of 50,000 square feet, a massive four-story parking garage of 175,000 square feet, and a massive apartment building, all along a two-block area of Port Republic Street, one block off Bay Street.

The following is a letter sent yesterday, March 19, by Douglas Storrs, President of The Point Neighborhood Association, to the five members of Beaufort City Council and the five members of the Historic District Review Board. The Point is a large historic residential neighborhood of more than 200 residents immediately to the right of Beaufort’s downtown historic core commercial district shown on the map above. Port Republic Street extends three blocks into The Point. Continue reading

War of words: Dick Stewart attacks Historic Beaufort Foundation

In a sharply worded, verbose tirade worthy of a spurned suitor, Dick Stewart, owner of 303 Associates, the developer of five massive proposed new structures in Downtown Beaufort including a 50,000 sq ft hotel (see scale model above) and a 175,000 sq ft parking garage, attacked Historic Beaufort Foundation (HBF) in an “Open Letter” published yesterday, March 18, as a paid advertisement in The Island News, a local weekly printed newspaper.

Stewart accused John Troutman, HBF’s chairman, of embarking “on a campaign of misinformation and deceit…to cast doubt on the propriety of our investments in the core commercial area of Downtown Beaufort. This is shameful, immoral and demeans HBF,” according to Stewart. Stewart proceeded to accuse “a few elitists” of being behind the rising alarm of local citizens expressing concerns about 303 Associates’ plans and the City’s purported approval of them as being in compliance with the City’s Code. Continue reading

Massive hotel, other out-of-scale buildings, planned for downtown Beaufort

Above: Scale model of proposed 72-room hotel in proportional comparison to some of the existing neighboring buildings. This is one of five major projects proposed by 303 Associates, a local development company, in various stages of review and purported approval by the City of Beaufort in the Port Republic Street area of the nine-block downtown historic core commercial district. According to reports, the hotel will be “a hotel in the Marriott family of hotels”. Continue reading