- discussed filling a number of board positions that are or will be open shortly. Council members were concerned about a lack of qualified applicants and discussed seeking further options.
- learned about a deal struck hours before the meeting involving Main Street Beaufort, USA, to provide low-cost parking for downtown employees at about $1 a day, according to Executive Director LaNelle Fabian. More details will be available next week.
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Beaufort City Council gave initial approval Tuesday to rezone a Lafayette Street lot as the site of affordable housing but emphasized they don't want rental houses or apartments built there.
The 4-1 vote, with councilman Mike Sutton opposed, is the first step toward changing the zoning of the city-owned property at 1403 Lafayette St. from R2 single family to the more flexible general residential category. The move would allow duplexes and triplexes -- and technically, apartments -- to be constructed there.
The city's Redevelopment Commission is working on a plan to team with a private developer to build affordable homes for working class Beaufort residents on the 0.895 acre lot. Last week, the commission struck out language allowing rental units after residents in the area said they opposed that type of housing.
Councilman Mike McFee, who sits on the Redevelopment Commission, said the commission has made it clear rental and apartment developments will not be considered.
"We've made the marching orders pretty strong," he said.
Sutton, a residential and commercial contractor, said he doubts duplexes or triplexes would remain owner-occupied after the initial sale.
Councilman George O'Kelley said he'd be interested in seeing numbers on rental vs. owner-occupied multi-family buildings in the city.
"How often do you knock on the door after (the sale) and say 'Do you own this or rent it?'" Sutton asked.
Mayor Billy Keyserling supported the change because it allows flexibility as developers and city officials search for innovative ways to fill vacant lots in the city.
A final vote is needed on the zoning change and will probably occur later this month.
Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/EyeOnBeaufort.