By Mike McCombs
Historic Beaufort Foundation (HBF) filed a petition on Friday in Circuit Court appealing the June 9 decision by the City of Beaufort’s Historic Review Board (HRB) to allow construction of a four-level parking garage and a four-story hotel by 303 Associates in Beaufort’s National Historic Landmark District.
According to state law, HBF had 30 days to appeal the decision of a local review board to circuit court and did so on the last day.
Of the HRB’s decision, HBF Executive Director Cynthia Jenkins said “We pretty much knew immediately, as a nonprofit, that we wanted to go through the steps with our board, we wanted to get an attorney, we wanted to compile all the info we needed … we wanted to appeal.”
Jenkins said shes is of the understanding that for the appeal to be heard by court, it could be 90 to 100 days. She said the organization was in the process of raising money to fund the appeal.
“I think it’s an incredibly wasteful use of resources,” said developer Dick Stewart of 303 Associates. “(There will be) no changes but we’ll continue to waste time.”
“We feel the buildings approved are not in character or appropriate for the Beaufort National Landmark District,” Jenkins said. “The buildings’ height, mass and scale overwhelm neighboring buildings. (And we believe) errors were made in the review board process.
“It’s kind of ironic that this is tourism based on (Beaufort’s) architectural character. These buildings could easily kill the goose that laid the golden egg. I do want to make certain people understand the Foundation is in support of development.”
According to its website, Historic Beaufort Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit education foundation created to preserve, protect and present sites and artifacts of historical, architectural and cultural interests throughout Beaufort County.
“We’ve participated in a system that has worked well for the city for well more than 50 years,” Stewart said. “It’s worked well for the citizens and the property owners and the developers, and now a third party wants to have a say.”
Mike McCombs is the editor of The Island News and can be reached at TheIslandNews@gmail.com.