Accommodating changes post bridge construction

The Beaufort Planning Board approved a number of town-initiated rezoning requests, including those outlined on this map, Monday at their regular meeting. The proposed rezonings accommodate for changes since the construction of the Gallants Channel high-rise bridge. (Contributed graphic)

beaufort — With the exception of a handful of courthouse properties, town planning board members determined more than a dozen rezoning requests were consistent with the town’s future land-use plan Monday.

Planning board members unanimously approved the requests during their Monday regular session. The requests were town-initiated, according to Town Planner Kate Allen, who described the request as a “zoning map update to rezone 15 parcels” in response to the new high-rise bridge into town.

“This is a staff-initiated request to consider an official zoning map update to reflect the changes associated with the Gallants Channel Bridge and new US-70,” town staff wrote. “This request also includes the rezoning of 14 parcels and the initial zoning of the portion of Rachel Carson Reserve included in the recent expansion of the corporate limits.”

Those parcels include 500 Ann St., 501 Broad St., 507 Broad St., 502 Cedar St., 508 Cedar St., 512 Cedar St., 314 Craven St., 313 Queen St., 311 Queen St., 138 Turner St., 419/423 W. Beaufort Road, the recently annexed portion of the Rachel Carson Reserve and the handful of properties that make up the county administration complex on Court House Square.

While the majority of the properties are zoned R-8 residential, R-20 residential, B-1 general district and H-BD historic, the town asked for almost all the properties to be rezoned to TR, or transitional district.

Only 419/423 West Beaufort Road, was requested to be rezoned R-20 residential, and the annexed portion of the Rachel Carson Reserve be rezoned to OS, or open space.

“The requested rezoning would be considered (adherent) to the (Coastal Area Management Act) Land Use Plan,” Ms. Allen said.

According to Ms. Allen, the town last sought to update its zoning map in 2013.

“There have been quite a few changes, over the years,” Ms. Allen said.

County Deputy Manager Eugene Foxworth attended the meeting to speak on behalf of the county, which owns the administration complex property. Mr. Foxworth asked the board to consider a 5-foot setback for the property. Typically, there would be a 15-foot setback.

The county is currently in the process of considering an expansion to the jail, located behind the old courthouse and administration building. Adding to the already existing structure is one of the options county officials are considering.

“That 5 foot will make a difference on how we are able to develop that property,” Mr. Foxworth said.

Beaufort Planning and Inspections Director Kyle Garner suggested the town planning board advise the town commissioners to possibly change setback rules for properties zoned TR.

Planning board Chairperson Ryan Neve added that it would be helpful for county staff to identify where on the property the setback would apply.

Contact Dean-Paul Stephens at 252-726-7081, ext. 232; email; or follow on Twitter @DeanPEStephens.

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