LETTER TO THE EDITOR: BRCA questions Morningside development

LETTER TO THE EDITOR:  BRCA questions Morningside development
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LETTER TO THE EDITOR. February 5, 2018. BLOWING ROCK, NC. — The following open letter to the editor and residents of Blowing Rock is from the Blowing Rock Civic Association (BRCA) and its BRCA Development Evaluation Committee.
Subject:  12 Unit Condominium Project Proposed for Downtown Blowing Rock on a .905 acre Property behind the Speckled Trout Restaurant, bound by Highway 221, Morningside Drive and Rainey Street
Despite rejection of the subject development by the Blowing Rock Planning Board at its December 2017 meeting the developer will present the project to the Blowing Rock Council for approval at their Tuesday February 13, 2018 meeting that begins at 5:30 P.M. at Town Hall.  Our committee has concluded that if approved and built this development will have a major impact on downtown Blowing Rock.  The following are concerns and facts about this project that we think should be carefully considered by the council and residents:
  1. The development will tower over surrounding Main Street and Highway 221 buildings.  The developer is asking for a variance from the town height limit of 30 feet to approximately 35 feet that will mean, considering the property elevation, that building tops will be approximately five stories above highway 221.
  2. The developer is requesting approval for an extraordinary increase in building density to 12 units from the long time Blowing Rock standard of only 5 units for this property, a 166% increase in density.
  3.  The developer originally requested use of town right of way for six of the required parking spaces for this project.  These parking spaces have now been brought on to the developer’s property.  Because the proposed condominiums will be used for short term rentals we are concerned about parking adequacy, particularly if garages are converted to living space by owners.  Unauthorized parking on interior streets can cause significant access problems for emergency vehicles.
  4. We are concerned that approval of this project will set a precedent that assures approval of future developments with 13.3 units per acre of density and buildings with 35 feet of height.
  5. Town staff estimates that the property taxes generated by this development when fully occupied would be $ 17,550/yr., 0.12% of this year’s town budget of $ 14,520.000.
Respectively submitted by the B.R.C.A Development Evaluation Committee
Judge Bob Burroughs – Retired Superior Court Judge
Bill Carter – Commercial and Residential Real Estate Professional and Developer
Jim Scott  – Retired Engineer and former chairman of the Blowing Rock Planning Board
Marshall Sealey – Retired Engineer and Construction Specialist
Julian West – Construction Executive, Developer and Investor

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