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Posted on: June 13, 2023

Judge denies request to overturn approvals for downtown buildings

BEAUFORT, S.C. – In a ruling on June 8, Circuit Court Judge R. Scott Sprouse denied a request by plaintiffs West Street Farms, LLC and Mix Farms, LLC to overturn approvals granted by the City of Beaufort to 303 Associates, LLC for a new downtown hotel, apartments, and parking garage. The plaintiffs, embodied by real estate developer Graham Trask, were represented by attorney W. Andrew Gowder, Jr., of Charleston-based law firm Austen & Gowder, and were unsuccessful in attempting to overturn a long-standing approval granted by the City’s citizen-led Historic Review Board.

 "The City is appreciative of this second denial by the Circuit Court," said Beaufort Mayor Stephen Murray. "From the beginning, the City has defended these approvals. All property owners are entitled to a fair, transparent, and legal path to improve their property, so long as it complies with the City’s development code.”

 The three projects were publicly considered over 13 times by citizen volunteers of the Historic Review Board beginning in 2015 and ultimately approved over the course of the next several years.

In his ruling, Judge Sprouse said that the plaintiffs’ request was improper given that a similar challenge had already been denied in the Circuit Court. The Circuit Court decision in January of 2022 was in favor of the City, ruling that a legal process was followed in granting approvals for the respective projects. However, the plaintiff has appealed this decision and it is currently a pending matter in the South Carolina Court of Appeals.

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