Town Council faces full agenda in January meeting

Town Council faces full agenda in January meeting
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By David Rogers. January 7, 2019. BLOWING ROCK, NC — With the same or similar variances being requested time and again for construction projects proposed downtown, Blowing Rock’s Board of Commissioners asked the town’s Planning Board to review current development standards dictated by the Land Use Code — and an ad hoc committee has done just that and maybe even more.

EDITOR’S NOTE: When we first read the board packet for Tuesday night’s Town Council meeting, we concluded that the Public Hearing regarding the Land Use Code amendments would be tonight. We were in error.

Tonight’s agenda item is simply for the Board of Commissioners to decide whether they want to schedule a Public Hearing, presumably at the regular February meeting of Town Council. It was brought to our attention that Chapter 2, Article II, Section 15 of the Town Code requires the Board of Commissioners to schedule a public hearing “…pursuant to a motion adopted by a majority vote setting forth the subject, date, place, and time of the hearing as well as any rules regarding the length of time of each speaker and other matters regarding the conduct of the hearing.”

So tonight’s agenda item is simply to set a public hearing, not to substantially debate the merits of the Planning Board recommendations.

Summary key aspects of the Planning Board recommendations:

  • Accepting that the east side of Main Street has a different character than the west side, different development standards are proposed for town center setbacks and building heights
  • For town center and central business zones, eliminate residential density limitations
  • Reductions in greenspace (on the West side of Main Street)
  • Changes in shade tree requirements

For the full set of proposed changes, CLICK HERE.

Another scheduled Public Hearing is to consider a Conditional Use Permit for Speckled Trout restaurant and bar.  Unfortunately, the link to the details of the request on the town’s website is mistakenly a duplicate link to the Planning Board recommendations discussed above.

Under Business Items:

  • Monthly Financial Presentation — will show that half way through the fiscal year approximately 81% of property taxes have been collected, 11% more than at the same time a year ago. However, because there was more development projects proposed in FY2017-18, building permit and zoning fees, as well as some utility fees are lower than a year ago. CLICK HERE for the full report.
  • Wastewater Centrifuge & Truck — a previously approved plan to purchase a centrifuge and reduce moisture content by approximately 98% from sludge collected and processed at the wastewater plant, then trucked to an off-the-mountain facility has fallen through. While the centrifuge and process work as promised, the Town has been unable to find a nearby facility to take the solid waste. CLICK HERE for the full memorandum and explanation.
  • Adverse Weather Policy Amendment — Proposed changes to the Town’s policies for providing emergency services and related employee compensation during extreme snow or other weather-related events. CLICK HERE for a full discussion.
  • Regular Town Council Meetings, ScheduleCLICK HERE for complete list of proposed dates.
  • Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce proposed changes to Savor event — The primary change is to move the primary wine-tasting event from the usual Maple Street location to Main Street, between Sunset Dr. and Morris Street. CLICK HERE for a slide show explaining the reasons for the requested changes.

Other official reports are scheduled for the end of the meeting, including from the Mayor, Town Manager, Commissioners, and Department heads.

About The Author

As Editor and Publisher of Blowing Rock News, David Rogers has chosen a second professional career instead of retirement. For more than 35 years, he served in the financial services industry, principally in institutional equity research. He grew up in the oilfields north of Bakersfield, California and was a high school English major and honors student. From an economically disadvantaged family background, he worked his way through college (on grounds crew and in dining hall, as well as advertising sales for college newspapers), attending Johnston College at the University of Redlands, Claremont McKenna College, and California State University, Bakersfield. Other jobs to pay for college included a Teamsters Union job in South Central Los Angeles, a roustabout in the central California oilfields, and moving sprinkler pipe and hoeing weeds in the cotton fields west of Bakersfield. Rogers' financial services industry career took him from Bakersfield to La Jolla and San Diego, then to Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, Newport Beach and Charlotte before arriving in the High Country in 2000 to take a volunteer position coaching the rugby team at Appalachian State University and write independent stock market research. He spent three years as a senior financial writer for a global financial PR firm with offices in Los Angeles, New York, Shanghai, Beijing, Tel Aviv, and Frankfort (Germany). Rogers is the author of "The 90% Solution: Higher Returns, Less Risk" (2006, John Wiley & Co., New York). He is married to wife Kim (Jenkins Realtors), and shares in the joy provided by her three grown children and five grandchildren.

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