By David Rogers. April 8, 2014. BLOWING ROCK, NC — Two certified arborists declared the landmark spruce tree in front of Town Hall to be “healthy”, so the Blowing Rock Appearance Advisory Commission unanimously recommended to Town Commissioners that the tree be preserved in the ongoing Blowing Rock Town Hall beautification project.
Photographic images by David Rogers for Blowing Rock News
The Town Commissioners approved the BRAAC recommendations Tuesday evening at the regularly scheduled April meeting of Blowing Rock Town Council.
Both arborists identified certain threats and vulnerabilities of the tree, including the cost of annually maintaining it. With all of the information, BRAAC’s unanimous recommendation, and Town Staff’s recommendation to approve all of BRAAC’s recommendations, the Commissioners voted unanimously to do just that — and they were greeted with applause and big smiles from BRAAC members in attendance.
In other business:
- Commissioners approved a request from Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corp. to amend its Conditional Use Permit (CUP) 2007-09 to modify the completion date of a proposed substation off of Little Springs Rd. The original date for the substation construction’s completion was 2010 and for the removal of the Possum Hollow substation was 2011. Citing delays relating to the U.S. 321 widening project, Blue Ridge Electric requested extensions to 2016 and 2017, respectively. The proposed substation site is a 1.73 acre lot formerly occupied by The Best Cellar Restaurant. The site is immediately above and east of the Food Lion shopping center parking lot. Dr. Adam Hill, DDS, who operates his dental practice questioned the BREMCO representative about any potential impact of the construct on his business. He was told that the planned path of utility lines was beneath the back parking spaces of the Food Lion lot.
- Commissioners approved a request from Blood Sweat & Gears (BSG) to hold a new bike race in 2015, a 1st annual race that will begin and end near the American Legion Building in Blowing Rock, on Saturday, September 26, 2015. The race will become part of a BSG “triple crown” when combined with the legacy, 16 year-old race originating in Valle Crucis and a new bike race in 2014, the Beech Mountain Metric. Each race has a limit of 1,250 riders. BSG, a non-profit organization, donated $100,000 to local charities last year, according to documents accompanying the request. BSG worked closely with the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce and the Blowing Rock Tourism Development Authority in its planning for this event.
- Commissioners approved going forward with exploratory discussions for the Town accepting grants from the Watauga Community Band ($10,000) and The Rotary Club of Blowing Rock (up to $30,000), to replace the current gazebo near the main entrance of Memorial Park and replace it with a much larger gazebo. The planned use of the new covered facility would be for accommodating music performances, including concerts by the Community Band and other concerts organized by Parks & Recreation. All plans and considerations will be submitted to the Council at a future date for approval.
- Commissioners approved a resolution urging the Watauga County Commission to maintain the ad valorem method of distributing sales tax in Watauga County for 2014-2015. The ad valorem method, as opposed to the former per capita method, adds approximately $200,000 to the Blowing Rock share of sales taxes collected in Watauga County.
Consent agenda items approved included:
- Approval for a High Country Council of Governments Intergovernmental Retreat Facilitation Agreement
- Approval of Joe Pappa to fill the seat vacated by Mark Klein on the Board of Adjustment
- Approval for appropriating restricted asset forfeiture funds already received for Police equipment. The cumulative funds total $2,412.98 received over the past four years and are restricted to law enforcement purposes.
- Declaring various items as surplus property for appropriate disposition, including two older vehicles, a used generator, blue light bars for one of the vehicles, three firearms, and other miscellaneous items that will be salvaged.