BEAUFORT - The governing body of Beaufort and department heads convened Monday evening for a general work session where several topics of concern were discussed.

First on the agenda was an update from the town's Planning and Inspections staff on Code Enforcement progress in Beaufort.

According to the report, the town saw 98 complaints in 2022.

Of those complaints, 61 were abated and 27 were found to not be violations of town code.

While it's been an issue in the past, unruly yard maintenance only accounted for eight complaints in the past year.

Nearly half of the 98 issues brought before Code Enforcement were related to improper signage, explained town staff.

Staff also reported on the 2022 paid parking season.

According to the presentation, the town has 323 paid parking spaces within city limits that brought in $236,893 gross revenue last year.

The town also encountered nearly triple the amount of parking violations in 2022 than in previous years.

Also, the mode of payment was noted to shift primarily to credit cards and mobile devices, with only two percent of customers still using change in the meters.

Following the report, Commissioner Bob Terwilliger raised the possibility of abolishing paid parking season.

"I know it will raise some eyebrows, but the town should consider making this parking year-round." Terwilliger said.

Commissioner Marianna Hollinshed also gave some input on the parking situation, suggesting the town waive fees during the town's annual Fourth of July celebration.

On a different topic, organizers Kazem Yahyapour and Steve Tulevech submitted a request Nov. 2022 to host the third Crystal Coast Half Booty Triathlon.

The event would be held May 13 and begin and end in Beaufort. Participants will be asked to swim 1.2 miles through Gallants Channel, bike 56 miles while going over the nearby bridge and eventually return to Beaufort for a 13.1-mile run.

Commissioners previously asked for an update to ensure safety concerns are being addressed.

At the work session, the board voted unanimously to continue working on the triathlon's logistics. It was noted that coordinators have already reserved the Beaufort Historic Grounds on May 12 for registration and exposition.

Another item brought up at the session was that of new rules allowing the construction of roofs on private docks.

A zoning text amendment to modify section 2-H-4 of the town's Land Development Ordinance was previously submitted Jan. 9 by Beaufort resident Martha Harrell.

The motion was approved by commissioners with the condition that the specific language in the text be further discussed before ratifying the amendment.

On Monday, the board determined that the best course of action would be to continue the discussion at their next meeting. It was generally agreed, however, that all specifics for new construction should adhere to existing N.C. Coastal Resources Commission and Coastal Area Management Act land use guidelines.

New dock roofs in the historical district will also have to come before the town's Historic Commission in a quasi-judicial evidentiary hearing.

Another item of note was an observation from Commissioner Charles "Bucky" Oliver who discovered a possible inconsistency with the town's yearly financial statements.

Although he did not go into specific detail, Oliver explained Beaufort is currently experiencing a dramatic change in operating expenses, possibly resulting in the town collecting an excess of money from its residents.

"We need to concentrate on this," Oliver said. "We need to seriously look at lowering our sewer rates and paying down some debt."

The board's next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 13 at the Train Depot in Beaufort.

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