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The original item was published from 9/11/2023 3:02:36 PM to 9/11/2023 3:23:36 PM.

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Posted on: September 11, 2023

[ARCHIVED] Appeals denied in lawsuits challenging downtown building approvals

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BEAUFORT, S.C. (Sept. 11, 2023) –  Judge Edward W. Miller, of the Beaufort County Court of Common Pleas, rendered decisions on Aug. 29 in three lawsuits naming the City of Beaufort as a defendant. These lawsuits appealed decisions made by the City’s Historic District Review Board and Zoning Board of Appeals regarding development of property in the City of Beaufort’s Historic District. Judge Miller denied all three appeals.

The first case was West Street Farms, LLC and Mix Farms, LLC vs. the City of Beaufort, the City’s Historic District Review Board, and 303 Associates, LLC. Plaintiffs challenged the Historic District Review Board’s decision made on Dec. 8, 2021, which granted preliminary approval of an apartment building at 211 Charles St.  

The second case was Historic Beaufort Foundation vs. the City of Beaufort, the City’s Zoning Board of Appeals, and 303 Associates, LLC. Plaintiff challenged the Aug. 9, 2021, Zoning Board of Appeals decision that granted a special exception to allow development of a building with frontage in excess of 100 feet in Beaufort’s Historic District.

The third case was West Street Farms, LLC and Mix Farms, LLC vs. the City of Beaufort, the City’s Zoning Board of Appeals, and 303 Associates, LLC. Like the second case, the plaintiffs challenged the Aug. 9, 2021, Zoning Board of Appeals decision granting a special exception to allow the development of a building with frontage in excess of 100 feet in the Historic District.

These decisions come on the heels of a decision by Judge Scott R. Sprouse on June 8, 2023, which denied a request by plaintiffs West Street Farms, LLC and Mix Farms, LLC to overturn the City of Beaufort’s approvals of 303 Associates, LLC projects in the City’s Historic District. In this case, plaintiffs were unsuccessful in seeking the court’s reversal of long-standing approvals of a new downtown hotel, apartment building, and parking garage.   

The approvals were granted by the City’s citizen-led Historic District Review Board. The three projects were publicly considered more than 13 times. Judge Sprouse, in his decision, said that the request was improper given that a similar challenge had already been decided on by the Circuit Court in January 2022 in the City’s favor, and was currently pending appeal. The pending appeal was a component of the decisions rendered on Aug. 29, 2023, by Judge Miller.

The approvals of these projects, which resulted from an extensive public review process, have consistently been upheld by the court on three separate challenges by combinations of West Street Farms, LLC, Mix Farms, LLC, and the Historic Beaufort Foundation.

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