Folly Beach looks to keep downtown area from being overdeveloped
FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCSC) - Folly Beach Planning Commission is sending zoning suggestions to City Council for approval, all with the goal of keeping the downtown area from being overdeveloped.
On Monday evening, the commission held a public hearing for ten zoning items.
They took the first steps to establish the “Center Street Overlay Zone.” The zone will include more than 50 parcels of land on and around Center Street. If approved by council, the overlay zone would mean new businesses looking to build on Center Street will have to meet specific regulations.
Those regulations include being built at the ground level and flood proofed instead of elevated, the buildings are limited to two stories including a deck and buildings cannot be multifamily use or standalone residential use.
According to city officials, those requirements will help regulate future development and protect the thriving heart of downtown Folly Beach. The Center Street Overlay restrictions do not have any application to existing properties. They only apply to new builds on the included parcels of land.
The commission also talked about adjusting its Downtown Commercial district rules. The ordinance would have changed the distance from the street buildings can be built from zero feet to ten feet.
Residents impacted are mostly from the blocks surrounding Center Street. A number of them showed up to the public hearing to oppose the ordinance about distance, saying it makes their property useless to them since they can’t build the homes they wish.
The commission voted to table the discussion because of the response from the community.
The commission did vote to send changes to the Island Commercial district regulations to city council. Those changes would limit buildings to three stories where a ground parking and rooftop deck each qualify as a story. The distance from the street buildings can start now must be ten feet.
According to the city of Folly Beach, these are all decisions that will protect the beauty and walkability of downtown. Some residents still feel they are too restrictive on property owners, and will be back to planning meetings to talk about the Downtown Commercial restrictions in the future.
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