After a lengthy discussion, the Beaufort Board of Commissioners approved the site plan for the Compass Hotel project Monday night in a 2-3 split vote. Commissioners Marianna Hollinshed and John Hagle voted against.
Conditions were added to the approval:
- That the south parking lot’s entrances/exits be on Cedar Street and not Moore or Orange streets
- That the state conveys the NC DOT owned property the developer needs to meet town code
- That the Beaufort Historic Preservation Commission look into dark sky lighting and fencing issues with the south parking lot
Head Compass Hotel developer, Joe Thomas said he was pleased with the decision.
“I think it was very good. I’d like to thank the town council and boards.”
Thomas said he is not concerned about the DOT property conveyance. “They’ve approved everything so far.”
Thomas said he anticipates the project will begin construction in the spring.
The project has been controversial since the developers brought it before the commissioners in the spring, first due to the building’s proposed height, then due to questions over the amount of parking included in the project.
At tonight’s meeting, all five commissioners said they had reservations about at least one aspect of the project. Stormwater management and the safety and appropriateness of the entrances and exits of the hotel’s south parking lot were the main concerns.
“We started this process on March the 14th,” Mayor Rett Newton said. “We’ve had as much open deliberation as we could have. The town’s process is transparent and intact. I appreciate the respectful and thoughtful dialogue of the commissioners, and I respect their decision.”
Most of tonight’s discussion centered on stormwater management. Moore Street, adjacent to the south parking lot is flooded easily. Commissioners Hagle, Hollinshed and Harker voiced concerns about adding more runoff to that area.
Commissioner Ann Carter said the town has yet to stop a project due to stormwater management questions.
Town Manager John Day said that stormwater management is the town’s responsibility; developers are responsible for ensuring runoff is directed toward the town’s drainage system.
Correction: This story has been updated to include the outcome of the vote, which was accidentally omitted.