Public Encouraged to Attend Compass Hotel Design Charrette Wednesday

A rendering of the proposed Beaufort Compass hotel seen from a porch on Orange Street.

The Town of Beaufort has invited residents to participate in a public input session at 7 pm, Wednesday, April 3, to discuss the future of a four-story hotel project proposed for Cedar Street.

The session, in the form of a design charrette, will be held at the Beaufort Train Depot, 614 Broad Street, Beaufort. Representatives from both the town and the hotel development group will be in attendance to hear suggestions and concerns from the public.

The project has been hotly debated among residents since developers presented it at the Beaufort Board of Commissioners annual retreat March 14.

Read background information on the Compass hotel

The proposed hotel will be a franchise of Compass by Margaritaville Hotels and Resorts, and its design calls for a structure four feet taller than current zoning restrictions with an additional 13 feet of rooftop elements including a cupola, elevator shaft and rooftop event area.

The hotel site at 103, 113 and 115 Cedar Street lies within the Business Waterfront district. Zoning restrictions in that area limit buildings to 40 feet in height with 10 feet of additional height for rooftop elements, so long as those elements do not exceed 10 percent of the total rooftop area.

For the project to move forward as planned, town commissioners would have to amend current zoning restrictions to allow for taller structures. Under state law, anyone can request a change to the text of any ordinance at any time.

Business Waterfront zoning restrictions limit the height and footprint of structures, but not their overall design. Only buildings within Beaufort’s locally designated historic district must be approved by the Historical Preservation Committee. The Compass hotel site is just outside of that district.

Despite a lack of legal design limitations, the developers told the Board of Commissioners that they wanted the building to fit in with Beaufort’s historic architecture and were open to feedback about the look of the hotel’s exterior.