By David Rogers. June 12, 2018. BLOWING ROCK, NC — Increased and formalized regulation of short-term rentals in Blowing Rock, the redevelopment of an iconic Main Street parcel, and the anticipated passage of the 2018=19 town budget share top billing on the agenda for Tuesday night’s meeting of the Blowing Rock Board of Commissioners.
CONDITIONAL REZONING REQUEST
Two public hearings are on the docket for the regularly scheduled Town Council meeting. The Board of Commissioners will first deliberate a conditional rezoning request by Cardinal West Building Company LLC. If approved, the building that formerly housed Blowing Rock Realty at 1150 Main Street (the “big white house with the columns out front”) would be demolished and replaced by a mixed-use development including two retail or restaurant spaces, as well as up to six condominium or townhouse units on the 0.337-acre parcel. The plan was previously approved by the Blowing Rock Planning Board, including three waiver requests for density (from five units per acre to 17.8 dwelling units per acre), building height (from 30 feet to not more than 34 feet), and the setback from the Main Street sidewalk (to allow for construction of a covered pergola on the front half of the main building). LINK TO RELATED DOCUMENTS: http://www.townofblowingrocknc.gov/home/showdocument?id=6039
SHORT-TERM RENTALS ORDINANCE
The second public hearing may result in the adoption of a Short-Term Rental Ordinance for the Town of Blowing Rock. The proposed ordinance results from work by the Planning Board’s Short Term Rental Task Force aimed at formalizing both restrictions, as well as permissible uses. The ordinance does not appear to expand or further restrict the areas in town where short-term rentals are permitted. LINK TO RELATED DOCUMENTS: http://www.townofblowingrocknc.gov/home/showdocument?id=6037
In recent weeks, the Town and its Tourism Development Authority (TDA) jointly purchased computer software that identifies properties being rented through online platforms such as AirBnB and VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner), including those in areas where short-term rentals are legal and illegal.
RENAMING CHESTNUT STREET
Under New Business, the Board of Commissioners will consider a request by a community group to rename Chestnut Street between Main Street and Wallingford Street as “Ginny Stevens Lane” as a way of recognizing the many community contributions of the late Ginny Stevens. During her lifetime and long residency in Blowing Rock, Stevens was a central figure in the Blowing Rock Historical Society and a major influence in the development of Edgewood Cottage and the Blowing Rock Art & History Museum (BRAHM). The portion of Chestnut that would be renamed passes between the Rumple Memorial Presbyterian Church campus and the properties that include Edgewood Cottage, BRAHM, and the public parking garage. LINK TO RELATED DOCUMENTS: http://www.townofblowingrocknc.gov/home/showdocument?id=6035
PROPOSED 2018-19 TOWN BUDGET
Also under New Business is the prospective adoption of the Fiscal Year 2018-19 Town Budget, which follows two budget workshops and a recent public hearing. The budget includes a one-cent increase in property taxes, to 38 cents per $100 of taxable property. The revenue and spending plan also includes a 50-cents increase in base fees for both water and sewer, as well as a 25-cent increase per thousand gallons consumed greater than 5,000 gallons in a billing period.
- The FY2018-19 proposed budget totals $13.7 million for Town operations, capital improvements, and debt service requirements, a decrease of $816,244 from the FY2017-18 budget.
- The ad valorem tax base grew by approximately $14 million in FY2017-18, to an estimated $1.412 billion.
- The funding includes a police department staff increase to provide a full-time School Resource Officer for Blowing Rock School
- The funding includes increased landscaping expenses related to the Town’s obligation to take over landscape maintenance of U.S. 321
- Blowing Rock’s Community Improvement Bonds received a AA+ rating from Standard & Poor’s. The favorable rating and the low interest rate environment combined to result in the Town paying roughly 2% interest instead of the originally budgeted 5%. The lower interest rate reduces the interest expense component of debt service by an estimated $100,000 in the General Fund and $31,000 in the Utility Fund. Over the 20-year repayment period, the lower interest rates are estimated to save a projected $1 million in the transportation and public parks projects and another $336,000 in water and sewer projects
- Given the current ad valorem tax base, each additional penny in the tax rate produces approximately $112,480 in Town revenue when adjusted for the assumed 98% collection rate. This implies property tax revenue of $4.274 million, or roughly 52.8% of General Fund revenue.
- Other major contributors of revenue to the General Fund include local sales taxes (22%), occupancy tax (5%) and state-collected (5%).
- LINK TO RELATED DOCUMENTS: http://www.townofblowingrocknc.gov/home/showdocument?id=6049
The Town Council/Board of Commissioners meeting convenes at 6:00 pm, in the Council Chambers at Town Hall, 1036 Main Street, Blowing Rock.