By David Rogers. July 10, 2017. BLOWING ROCK, NC — What’s good for the goose may not be good for the gander. At least that is the “buzz” heading into Tuesday night’s Blowing Rock Town Council meeting (6:00 pm, Town Hall).
Although the agenda is fairly light, there are a couple of interesting items in the Public Hearings portion of the meeting.
Term Limits For Appointed Boards
At January’s “retreat” — held two hours out of town in Asheville where few, if any media or concerned citizens might hear their deliberations — the Board of Commissioners and Mayor “asked for an ordinance amendment to be considered that would place possible term limits for appointed boards to two terms. If there are not enough volunteers for citizen boards in a particular year, members currently serving could be asked to continue service. Council suggested that the ordinance be effective in March 2018 as new board appointments are made. The draft ordinance would affect the Planning Board, Board of Adjustments, and BRAAC).”
At its June meeting, the Planning Board recommended approval of the amended language.
In reviewing the posted minutes from the January retreat, there is no explanation for what is prompting this change in the Town Code, nor any discussion of imposing term limits on elected officials.
EDITOR’S NOTE: As long as Town Council continues to take votes and make substantive decisions in a retreat setting (at taxpayers expense) that is significantly out of town and so rendered mostly inaccessible to voters, taxpayers, and media representatives (all of whom must pay their own way to these so-called “open” public meetings), Blowing Rock News will continue to be critical of this practice.
Apparently, most municipalities understand the unfairness of this practice to their constituents. Our research of municipal governing board retreats suggests that very few take votes or make substantive decisions, but use these retreats to review accomplishments; receive departmental reports; study specific issues, i.e., urban transit; strategic planning (i.e. SWOT Analysis); or brainstorm various issues that might affect the future of the municipality, among other activities in which NO decisions are made.
Proposed Amendments To Blowing Rock Market CUP
A second public hearing will focus on a request by David Barker of Mountaineer Marketing, Inc., owner of Blowing Rock Market, to make changes to the original conditional use permit approved in April 2000 when former Blowing Rock businessman and resident David Wray owned the what was then described as a “convenience store/retail market and deli with gas sales.”
According to the application submitted by Barker for the Town’s consideration, Mountaineer Marketing wishes to:
- enclose the current outdoor patio (increasing in-store space)
- remove the gas pump closest to the entry door
- add four spaces of angled parking on the north side of the property
- add up to 38 seats of outdoor dining under the main canopy and to the right (north) of the canopy
- move existing ADA space to the left of the building entry
- restrict the driveways serving Main Street to be entry only
- restrict the driveway serving Park Ave. to be exit only
- provide new landscaped area in front of the building, and
- extend the street yard island at the right (north) driveway on Main Street to guide traffic flow into the site
Under Old Business, the Commissioners will hear presentations from representatives of Destination By Design about the “next steps” for the Sunset Gateway project. The proposed scope of services for project continuation include additional stakeholder outreach, including individual meetings with potential developer(s) of the vacant, former pharmacy building, as well as other affected property owners; one or more design-focused meetings with BRAAC, an architect, urban designer and landscape architect; and a presentation before the Planning Board. Additional proposed services include design updates, website development as a mechanism for sharing design concepts and receiving public input, and preparing a report focused on updated costs, designs and comments for Town Council. The total estimated cost to the Town for this proposed scope/phase is $9,160.
Other Old Business includes a presentation by Brad Smith, representing Metron Farnier Smart Water Meters & Systems regarding the new automated meter infrastructure.
- Tax Releases
- Annual Tax Settlement Report and Order of Tax Collection
- Governing Body Resolution (relates to Blowing Rock electing to become a member of the Interlocal Risk Financing Fund of North Carolina)
- Agreement for Interlocal Agreement for a Group Self-Insurance Pool for Property and Liability Risk Sharing
- Budget Amendments relating to the North Carolina League of Municipalities Insurance Pool
- Other Budget Amendments (will result in a net budget decrease of $94,183)
Editor’s Note: Items relating to the budget and insurance plans are to ratify decisions made (votes taken) during the Mid-Year Retreat, which was held at Town Hall, where Blowing Rock News was in attendance along with several other constituent interests, voters and taxpayers.
- Sale of newsracks
- Receipt of $500 donation from Blowing Rock Garden Club
- Monday Night Concert Series
- Movies In The Park
- Virginia Tech Design Grant
- Center line striping
- Accolades re: town landscaping and Town Hall garden
- New housing starts and permitting of Chestnut Partners (old hospital site)
- Sharon Van Dyke’s 20 years of service
- Invoice from New River Power & Light