303 Associates, led by Dick Stewart, is currently planning to construct at least 5 new buildings on Port Republic Street along the two block area from Scott to Charles Streets including 812 Port Republic St., 809 Port Republic Street, 905 Port Republic Street, 918 Craven Street and 211 Charles Street. The Cannon Building proposed for 211 Charles Street and the Beaufort Inn Hotel proposed for 812 Port Republic Street are on this month's HRB Agenda. (pp.261 - 286 & pp. 287 - 335).
The addition of approximately 100 hotel rooms, a 470-odd space parking garage, a new three-story apartment building, and a conference meeting space deserves an in-depth study by the city. HBF is concerned that Covid-19 restrictions have limited public awareness of proposed and planned new development projects. We feel a thorough public understanding will help ensure development that is in the best long-term interest of the city.
The height, mass and scale of the proposed buildings along Port Republic and Craven Streets do not fit the character of Beaufort and will forever alter our unique sense of place. Maintaining a vibrant downtown and core commercial area always requires up to date analysis but in a historic district that depends on a vibrant tourism economy it is vital. Ensuring the balance does not get tipped too far in one direction or the other is critical. We all want to protect the proverbial “goose who laid the golden egg.”
HBF believes it is imperative that a scale model and master plan specifically addressing how these projects will impact traffic, parking, infrastructure, stormwater, flooding, waste removal and servicing be developed. Much more study and work must be done in order to understand and assess the impact on downtown Beaufort and indeed all of Beaufort.
Join us in asking the city to require a scale model as well as additional planning before these projects move forward.