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A Shell Point neighborhood resident's request that her property be annexed into Port Royal under a new zoning code that would give her the option of opening a business there met a wave of criticism from neighbors at the City of Beaufort/Town of Port Royal Joint Municipal Planning Commission meeting Monday.
Sokpun Flores told commission members that while she doesn't plan to open a business at her 1001 Cypress St. residence -- which sits near the corner of Cypress Street and Parris Island Gateway -- she wants to ensure her children can use the property for business ventures in the future if necessary.
"Port Royal won't be staying the way it is," Flores said Tuesday. "It's going to grow. There are businesses right down the street, and one more at some point in the future would not hurt."
More than 20 people attended Monday's meeting. After listening to public comment, the planning commission recommended that Flores proceed with her annexation application requesting an R-10 zoning designation, which would only allow a single-family residence on the property.
Planning commission member Harley Laing said that as the Port Royal gets closer to adopting its comprehensive plan, which will guide how the town grows, he felt "less inclined to support annexations intended for zoning changes."
A year has passed since Flores first applied for annexation. The Port Royal Town Council denied that application for annexation in March 2008. She is allowed to reapply after that one-year period.
Shell Point Neighborhood Association President Carolyn Davis said allowing the zoning change, even on the fringes of the neighborhood, could completely change the community's dynamics.
Residents worry that a business would bring increased traffic, create parking problems and jeopardize the neighborhood's integrity, Davis said.
"We value our neighborhood," Davis said. "It has Lowcountry character."
Other neighborhood residents who spoke at Monday's meeting said they were concerned Flores, who runs a fish market out of the Nickle Pumper on Savannah Highway, would try to relocate that business to the neighborhood.
Flores said she purchased the Nickle Pumper in April and has no plans to move her fish business.