Tuesday Blowing Rock Town Council Agenda: Long on vision

Tuesday Blowing Rock Town Council Agenda: Long on vision
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By David Rogers. July 9, 2018. BLOWING ROCK, NC — Three agenda items on tap for Tuesday night’s regular July meeting of the Blowing Rock Board of Commissioners focus on the future.

FutureThink

Under Public Hearings, the Board of Commissioners will take under consideration a conditional rezoning request for 1150 Main St. in Blowing Rock. Although the white-columned structure currently on that site gained nearly iconic stature while being home to Blowing Rock Realty for some two dozen years, its deteriorating condition beckons for redevelopment.

The proposed conditional rezoning would result in the existing structure to be torn down and replaced with a mixed-use development with retail, as well as townhouse and condo-style residential units. Like so many other development proposals that have come before the Board of Commissioners in recent years, this request by Cardinal West Building Company, LLC is petitioning for several variances or waivers from the Land Use Code ordinances, including:

  • Residential density from five units per acre to 17.8 dwelling units per acre
  • Street setback reduced from 15 feet from the back of the proposed sidewalk on Pine Street
  • Building height increased from 30 feet to not more than 34 feet
  • Reduction in green space area between the sidewalk and building

In each instance, there is a compelling development-friendly rationale for the request. Although the Planning Board recommended approval of the rezoning request as submitted, including with the proposed conditions and waivers, the Board of Commissioners in recent years has been inconsistent and often unwilling to approve development projects with multiple variance requests. Examples include Mountainleaf and two Morningside Dr. townhome proposals.

EDITOR’S NOTE: For related commentary about what might be happening when every development project is requesting multiple variances, please CLICK HERE.

For additional information about the 1150 Main St. conditional zoning request, please CLICK HERE.

Under Old Business, another agenda item will also look to the future. The Town Council and citizens in attendance will view a presentation (interim report) by the Firehouse Cultural Center Task Force.  In May of 2017, the Task Force entered into a one-year due diligence agreement to clarify the project focus, evaluate the existing facilities, survey public interest, explore architectural concepts and space utilization, brainstorm uses and potential events, and evaluate and plan for business planning, including a prospective operations budget, among other objectives.

The ultimate purpose of the presentation is to advise the Council members on the Task Force progress so far, as well as to ask for their encouragement to continue the with the planning process.

CLICK HERE to review a copy of the presentation online.

The final agenda item looking toward the future is a long-awaited proposal for the Town to embark on Sunset Drive improvements. The artist renderings of the proposal reflect a much more modest (and much less expensive) design than the ones proposed by previous efforts to address the busy street’s problem areas, from potholes to parking. In general, a review of the engineering plans reflect improvements to curb, gutter and sidewalks, as well as repaving, but may do very little to address the tight traffic corridor on the upper third of Sunset Drive as it approaches Main Street because of a reluctance to do away with any parking spaces.

CLICK HERE to review the artist renderings for Sunset Dr.

OTHER BUSINESS

Other agenda items include the annual tax settlement report and order of tax collection on the Consent Agenda, and two public recognitions for the community contributions of the late Betty Pitts (88) and Jeff Eason (58), both of whom passed away in early June.

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