The Beaufort Historic Preservation Commission (BHPC) approved plans for the Compass Hotel’s south parking lot Tuesday night.
The lot lies at the corner of Orange and Cedar Streets in Beaufort and is within the town’s local historic district. Projects within the district must be issued a certificate of appropriateness from the BHCP. The Compass Hotel itself is outside of the district and was given its final approval by the town Board of Commissioners in November.
The property is currently used as a parking lot. It is also home to a small cinder block building and a dilapidated house that have no historical significance.
The parking lot will include more than 60 parking spaces surrounded by a “Beaufort-style” picket fence of varying height and native plantings such as live oak trees, wax myrtles and azaleas. It will be lit by 16-foot “dark sky” type lights intended to minimize light pollution and nuisance.
This is the third time the hotel’s south parking lot application has come before the commission.
In June, the BHPC tabled the application and requested more information. The developers later pulled that application.
A new application was submitted in January and discussed at length. Several residents who live near the lot spoke about their concerns with the project, particularly the height, angle and brightness of the parking lot’s lights and the size and shape of a perimeter fence.
By the end of January’s meeting, the BHPC agreed that most of the application was appropriate, but that the lights and fence needed some adjustments.
The developers returned in February with updated plans, which can be viewed here.
After further discussion with residents affected by the project and a lighting engineer, the BHCP voted to approve the application.
Yesterday’s approval was the final board-level approval needed from the town before the developers can begin construction on the south parking lot and accompanying 101-room hotel across the street.
Head developer Joe Thomas said in November that construction would begin this spring.