Dominion Energy tree slaughtering continues

These stately palmetto trees, the South Carolina state tree, were felled by Dominion Energy’s tree-slaughtering contractor, Gunnison–which styles itself as a “Professional Tree Care” company–on the morning of May 4, 2021, along the right of way in front of Bill Sammons’ house on Elliott Street. Sammons, a Beaufort native of 81 years, pictured below, negotiated for weeks with Dominion, the local electricity provider headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, to no avail to save these trees. Shifting of one power pole a distance of 10 feet would have been sufficient to preserve trees which had provided shade and beauty here for 70 years.

Here are emails that The Beaufort Tribune has received from Bill Sammons:

April 19. 2021:  Dominion Energy is going all over the Low Country cutting down palmetto trees (our state tree ) and telling folks that they must cut them down because the trees only live to be 80-100 years old and the ones they are killing are old and they are about to die anyhow and so it is OK.  They lie!  Google it, palmetto trees live to be 200-300 years old. Dominion and the political gang are lying to us as they strip all the ambience out of Beautiful Beaufort by the Sea!  Call your state senator and state representative and tell them to STOP DOMINION.

May 3, 2021: M palmettos will be gone, but I think that we need to put the spotlight on Dominion Energy and those politicians in Columbia that allowed them to rape our wonderful little town. These guys are paid to cut the trees by the politicians in Columbia so it’s their fault, not the guys that actually cut the trees.

Click here for a video of the tree cutting.

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

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