TOWN COUNCIL: New downtown development standards weigh heavy on February agenda

TOWN COUNCIL: New downtown development standards weigh heavy on February agenda
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By David Rogers. February 10, 2019. BLOWING ROCK, NC — Proposed amendments to the Land Use ordinances governing downtown development will take center stage Tuesday night as the only public hearing on the Blowing Rock Board of Commissioners’ regular February meeting agenda.

At last June’s 2018 Mid-Year Retreat, the Board of Commissioners voted to instruct the Blowing Rock Planning Board to revisit downtown development ordinances in view of the fact that so many requests for the same waivers or variances kept being requested by developers for their various projects. Of particular interest were the ordinances governing density, parking, building height, green space and setbacks.

In response, the Planning Board formed a sub-committee consisting of chairman David Harwood, Wes Carter, Mike Page, and Pete Gherini, who in turn sought counsel from local realtor, Sue Glenn, who had performed an exhaustive study recently of existing downtown buildings’ density.

Of significance to the Planning Board recommendations to be presented are:

  • Eliminating density requirements altogether because of redundant restrictions imposed by parking and building height limitations
  • Changes to building height, setbacks, and green space requirements, with different standards applied to the East and West sides of Main Street
  • Taking into consideration the ordinance amendments’ compatibility with the adopted 2014 Comprehensive Plan adopted by Town Council after considerable work by a professional consulting firm and the inputs of many community interest groups, as well as town council members
  • One of the Comprehensive Plan’s policy suggestions aimed to preserve Blowing Rock’s small-town atmosphere in terms of building height, bulk or area

Different people have different judgments about what is small or tall or dense, of course, and the public hearing will allow residents and other constituent interests and opportunity to air their views and opinions.

Other Business Items on the February agenda include:

  • 2018-19 audit presentation
  • Monthly financial report
  • Appointments to the volunteer boards, including Planning Board, Blowing Rock Appearance Advisory Commission, Board of Adjustments, Tourism Development Authority, and the ABC Board
  •  Update on the Sunset Drive Streetscape Project and the low bid presented by Iron Mountain Construction
  • Status of Town Council Priorities established during the January Retreat in Asheville
  • Town Council’s 2019 Meeting Calendar


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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