UPDATE 12/13/16: The Beaufort Board of Commissioners decided during its Dec. 12, 2016, regular meeting to move forward with removing the historic landmark designation on the facility. The public hearing will be at their January meeting.
UPDATE 10/22/15: Carteret County commissioners accepted a $1.76 million offer on the old Beaufort Elementary property during its Oct. 19, 2015, regular meeting. This News-Times article explains more.
UPDATE 10/13/15: The Carteret County Board of Commissioners have on its Oct. 19 agenda "Review & Discussion of Bids Received/ Old Beaufort Board Elementary School." The board meets at 6 p.m. in the Commissioners' Boardroom, Administration Building, Second Floor, Courthouse Square, Beaufort. The section from the agenda packet about the the school, including bidder information, the bid tab and facility condition update can be found here.
UPDATE 10/05/15: Sealed bids were opened Oct. 2 at county administration. This News-Times article details the bidders and bids.
With the recent authorization by the County Board of Commissioners to sell Beaufort Elementary School, many Town residents may be wondering what will happen if the about 15.90 acres and five buildings at 801 Mulberry St. is sold, which will be known Oct. 2 when the county manager opens the sealed bids.
Though the property is owned by the county, the Town regulates zoning, which basically means the Town has rules or guidelines that determine how the property can be used and what can be built on the property. These can be found in the Land Development Ordinance.
In the case with the school property, the property is zoned Residential 8 (R-8). Lots zoned R-8 are a minimum of 8,000 square feet in size and primarily used for single-family dwelling units or, in other words, one house per lot. There are a handful of other regulations for properties zoned R-8 including setbacks, or the distance from the property line that a building can be placed. More can be read about those guidelines here.
Since the school was designated by the Board of Commissioners in 2003 as a Local Landmark (a building or place with historical, architectural or cultural value), if someone does buy the property and wants to make any changes to the outside or demolish the building, they’ll have to ask the Beaufort Historic Preservation Commission (BHPC) for permission to make any changes during one of its regular meetings. The BHPC reviews and regulates changes in the locally designated historic district and local landmarks. A public hearing would take place during this meeting to give concerned citizens an opportunity to share their thoughts with the members of Beaufort Historic Preservation Commission.
If the request is to demolish the building, the BHPC has the authority by state statute to delay the demolition of the building for up to one year from the date of approval, if permission is granted. This gives the BHPC and landowner time to work toward a different solution besides demolition. The HPC may permanently deny authorization for demolition of a building, structure, or site in the locally designated Beaufort Historic District if it is determined by the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) that the property has statewide significance as defined by the criteria of the National Register of Historic Places.
The potential new owner may also want to rezone the property. What would that entail?
The request to rezone the property would have to go before the Planning Board. If the Planning Board approves the request, the request would have to be presented to the Beaufort Board of Commissioners during one of its regular meetings. A public hearing would be held to allow for the Commissioners to hear from the public.
The process to have a property rezoned usually takes at least 60 days from date the application is submitted to the Town’s planning department. Town staff is required to notify all property owners within 100 feet of the property by first-class mail of the request, run a notice in the newspaper announcing the public hearing and post signs on site announcing the time, date and location of the public hearing.
If the aforementioned takes place, the following step would be for Town staff to review the next proposal by the new owner.