Compass Hotel on Historic Commission Agenda Tuesday

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Note: The editor has a family member currently serving on the Beaufort Historic Preservation Commission.

The Beaufort Historic Preservation Commission will review plans for the Compass Hotel’s south parking lot at it’s regular monthly meeting, 6 pm Tuesday, Jan. 7, at the Train Depot. The public is invited to attend.

The commission will decide whether or not the parking lot meets the town’s historical guidelines. If it does, the BHPC will issue the developers, Beaufort Partners, LLC, a certificate of appropriateness.

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The hotel property consists of five lots and is split between the north and south sides of Cedar Street.

The south parking lot, at 208 Cedar St. and 319 Orange St., lies within the local historic district and is subject to BHPC approval before construction can begin.

The main hotel property at 103, 113, and 115 Cedar St. is outside of the local historic district and is not subject to approval by the historic commission.

The project as a whole was approved by the town Board of Commissioners (BOC) in November after months of back-and-forth between town planning staff and the developers. The BHPC decision is the final approval Beaufort Partners needs from the town.

This will be the second time the BHPC has reviewed plans for the project. The group first reviewed plans for the south parking lot in July, 2019, but decided the application was incomplete without photos of an existing structure on the property and declined to make a decision. The new application includes the required photos.

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If a certificate of appropriateness is awarded, head developer Joe Thomas said construction would likely begin this spring.

Beaufort Partners presented their concept for the 101-room Compass Hotel to the BOC in March, 2019.

Initial plans called for a 44-foot-tall building, which is four feet beyond the allowed height within the property’s Waterfront Business (WB) zoning area. In order to build to that height, the developers would have had to request an amendment to the WB zoning requirements.

The height of the building elicited protests from some residents who launched a yard-sign campaign against the project as it was presented. Though the developers were hesitant to do so, they eventually agreed to lower the building’s height to 40 feet.