Please Attend Public Meetings on Valley Boulevard Vision – October 15th and 29th at 7:00 PM

The Town Council approved a contract with Benchmark of Charlotte  during a special meeting on Thursday, Sept. 19th to assist the Town with setting a vision for redevelopment of Valley Boulevard.

Benchmark assisted the Town with the 2014 Comprehensive Plan which resulted in a shared vision to protect the historic village while encouraging compatible redevelopment.  You should  read the Comprehensive Plan before the meetings. A copy can be obtained from the Town of Blowing Rock website.

The purpose of the Valley Boulevard Vision Project is to define a vision for Valley Boulevard based on input by all stakeholders in the community and make recommendations for town code changes that would be implemented in 2020.  The findings will be presented in November after public hearings and  a final plan in  January to the Town Council who will most likely refer the findings to the Planning Board for final recommendations.

Public hearing dates to solicit community input are currently scheduled for 7 p.m. on October  15th  and 29th at Town Hall or the American Legion Building,  The October meeting dates were chosen to  allow for input from all taxpayers including seasonal homeowners on this vital re-development issue.

The Civic Association recently released an updated Action Plan that includes recommendations for Valley Boulevard.  You can read the entire Action Plan on the Blowing Rock Civic Association website, but the key recommendations for Valley Boulevard focused on setting clear expectations to encourage compatible redevelopment that is complimentary not competitive to the downtown business districts:

1 – Substantial lawns and trees in front setbacks
2 – Pedestrian access to Downtown and Middle Fork Greenway
3 – Architectural standards to complement village
4 – Difference in size and use of land on West & East Valley Boulevard
5 – Parking lots to rear or sides of buildings, not street side
6 – Standardized low signage
7 – Public art  and appropriate landscaping along the corridor

Additionally, an important consideration was  recently discussed at the Vision Committee. The New River Corridor behind the buildings along West Valley Boulevard can be a very significant asset for future generations of Blowing Rock residents, visitors and business owners.   We should not turn our back on the river as so many communities have done in the past.  Recommendations for changes in the land use code should include consider utilization of this asset.

Tim Gupton, President

Beauty of Main Street

We love Main Street especially West Main Street with Memorial Park, eclectic architecture and welcoming greenspace of lawns, trees and flowers.

So, we updated the pictures on our Home Page to share the beauty of Main Street.

Please take an opportunity to check out the new pictures.

Pickleball at Memorial Park

Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in America. Blowing Rock is on board with 80 active players in Memorial Park.

Resident pickleball players asked the Town Council to add an additional multi-purpose pickleball and basketball court and provide storage for nets.

Copy and Paste this Link to read an article in the Blowing Rocket by Thomas Sherrill.

https://linkprotect.cudasvc.com/url?a=https%3a%2f%2fwww.wataugademocrat.com%2fnews%2fblowing-rock-pickleball-players-ask-for-permanent-courts-in-memorial%2farticle_8e5a2410-0d39-5cfa-b6f8-c9ac5a64a6da.html&c=E,1,3IomUmAy1FJQTfjYgHKl0iUZsuEjw359sHs-hRXB3AfCK2eQi4rlFVrO5VpugMuUhtMZNdcEUxv5YBu_UF49XZXfhnu2V0MUeGMgv-5Lv6kut4Y,&typo=1

Blowing Rock Civic Association News

POST – Message from your President

Friends & Neighbors

I am looking forward to leading our organization with the help of a very capable board of directors and your support.  Please visit our website at www.brcivic.org/board-of-directors/to view the recent addition of the bios for our board of directors.

The Civic Association is a strong voice for Homeowners just like the Chamber is a strong voice for Business.  We strive to independently determine the facts of key issues to assure decisions are made with all the facts on the table and to advocate for Homeowners.

Unfortunately, the community has not been unified for the first six months of 2019 and our Civic Association has been under attack as we try to advocate for Homeowners. The Public Hearing on changes to the Land Use Code for Downtown and the Public Hearing for the Rainey Lodge Project divided our community.

My #1 priority and commitment is to work with our community leaders and stakeholder organizations to bring us together to develop solutions for issues that have divided our community.

I believe it is time that we acknowledge the lack of unity on the re-development of our downtown business districts, especially Main Street, and begin a process to bring the community together.

The key question is “How do we protect our historic village while amending our Land Use Code to encourage compatible re-development?”

I have begun meeting with community leaders to build relationships to address this issue and others and continue to attend Town Council and Planning Board meetings.  If you attended our annual meeting, you met our new Town Manager, Mr. Shane Fox. He is committed to open communication and we are looking forward to his leadership.

Please watch for an update of our Communication & Action Plan to refresh and share our goals and recommended action steps.

Mark your calendar for our Candidates Forum on October 3rd at the American Legion Building.  Mayor Sellers does not have a challenger and four candidates are running for two seats on the Town Council. You will have an opportunity to ask questions of the candidates.

Homeowners pay 85% of property taxes, but most Homeowners do not vote in Blowing Rock. You vote with your pocketbook but not at the ballot box.  Elections are won usually by less than 50 votes. Many of you have a choice where you vote. Please consider changing your voter registration to Blowing Rock where YOUR VOTE COUNTS. Please evaluate your ability to register to www.ncsbe.gov/voters/registering-to-vote.

Finally, I want to hear directly from you on issues of concern. You can email me at tgupton@hpg.com or call me at 919.418.8555. We are evaluating a survey tool to solicit your opinions on key issues, so stay tuned.

Respectfully,

 

Tim Gupton

Brief Summary of Town Council Meeting August 13, 2019

The Town Manager promoted Aaron Miller to Police Chief and Matt Blackburn to Public Works Director.  Both had served in interim roles.

 

Greg Tarbutton of Chetola spoke during the citizen comment period to warn about the national and state risk of overriding local control of short term rental zoning based on an aggressive lobbying effort by Airbnb, a $38B company.  We tracked bills during the NC legislative session to override local ordinances. One limiting permitting by local government was approved and one to eliminate local control did not make it out of committee to the floor.

 

The Council denied on a vote of 4 to deny and 1 to approve an application recommended by the Planning Board to establish a Short Term Rental Overlay for 5 houses on Valley Boulevard primarily due to the risks associated with setting a precedent outside of existing Short Term Rental Districts.

 

Time limited (3 hours)  parking for the south side of Park Avenue was discussed and decision was deferred to a larger discussion about downtown parking at the Winter Retreat.  Our Communicate and Action Plan and the 2014 Comprehensive Plan both address the need to address downtown parking.

 

Our Plan recommends:

1.    Paid parking at least on Main Street

2.    Public input before decisions are made

3.    Advice from a professional parking company before decisions are made

4.    Feeder parking lots or garages to disburse parking and encourage use of AppalCART and  pedestrian traffic to Town Center

 

Most small towns contract with parking companies that implement and manage all aspects of paid parking solutions. Parking revenue goes to the Town, but parking fines are remitted to the state for education funding. Mr. Matheson reported that AppalCART use is improving.

 

Contact Tim Gupton at 919.418.8555 or tgupton@hpg.c  for further input or quest

Brief Summary of Blowing Rock Civic Association’s Annual Meeting July 25, 2019

George Wilcox, President, welcomed a full Blowing Rock Country Club ballroom of BRCA members by stating  the BRCA mission: “TO PROTECT AND IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF LIFE IN BLOWING ROCK BY TAKING PROACTIVE STANDS ON CIVIC AFFAIRS, INFORMING, EDUCATING AND ENGAGING RESIDENTS ON KEY TOWN ISSUES; WORKING WITH LOCAL GOVERNMENT;  AND ENCOURAGING CITIZENS TO BE INVOLVED IN OUR COMMUNITY”  Our mission includes gathering and defining facts on matters impacting our town using extensive assistance of professionals, where necessary, and then communicating these facts to our community.

In attendance and recognized were Mayor Charlie Sellers, Albert Yount, Mayor Pro Tem, and Council Member Sue Sweeing.  BRCA Board members:  Bill Carter, Vice President, Betsy Wilcox, Secretary and Treasurer, Brian Beaty, Richard Gambill, Tim Gupton,  Karyn Herterich, Jean Kitchin, Dan McLamb, Blake Pace, Senator Tony Rand, Jim Scott and Julian West were recognized.

The minutes of the 2018 annual meeting were presented and approved on a motion by Julian West, seconded by Dan McLamb.

Julian West, head of the BRCA Finance Committee, reported on the Year end 2018 financials of BRCA  prepared by Blowing Rock accountant Orian Carter, EA.

Retired Judge Bob Burroughs introduced a resolution to increase the BRCA number of board members to fifteen by adding two new positions. He further nominated  Dr. Barry Buxton and Marshall Sealey to fill the new positions. The resolution (copy attached) further nominated all other board members whose terms were expiring to be elected to new terms.  Judge Burrough resolution also nominated Tim Gupton for election as President and CEO, George Wilcox as Chairman of the Board, and Betsy Wilcox Secretary/Treasurer for the next year.  BRCA member Dr. Charles Davant, III, moved that this resolution be adopted by acclamation. The motion was seconded by BRCA member Carol Dabbs. The motion was adopted unanimously by a show of hands.

Wilcox then recognized new Blowing Rock Town Manager Shane Fox who gave an excellent presentation on a number of important facts and issues impacting town government including:

1.        Blowing Rock has 67 employees and approximately 30 part time employees

2.       Blowing Rock homeowners are vitally important to the town, paying 85% of the town’s property taxes.

3.       There are 1200 to 1300 fulltime town residents with seasonal and day trippers adding up to 10,000 people additional people in town. This makes staffing very challenging to meet widely varying needs.

4.       He will remain vigilant on a move in the state legislature to end the town’s ability to regulate short term rentals in neighborhoods.

5.       He is working with AT&T and Spectrum to accomplish burying of utility lines and removal of utility poles from 321 adjacent to the Country Club and beyond, a project that has far exceeded promised completion date.

6.       He is also working with Watauga Co. to obtain fulltime ambulance emergency personnel  in Blowing Rock. This service has long been promised to the town by the county.

Fox also answered a number of member questions about town matters.

Interim Police Chief Aaron Miller then gave an excellent presentation on town police operations.

Both of these presentations and the entire meeting will be available soon on the BRCA website:

www.brcivic.com

The meeting concluded with a superb presentation by newly elected BRCA President and CEO Tim Gupton who made the following points:

1.     The BRCA represents the entire community but it provides unique representation for the town’s homeowners, fulltime and seasonal, who are not represented by any other community organization in town.

2.     He intends to emphasize an important BRCA goal to serve as …”a unifying voice” in the community that has been split by a recent push to change town codes and the approval of the Rainey Lodge development.

The BRCA will sponsor a community meeting to hear from and ask questions of town candidates for Mayor and two council seats on Thursday evening October 3, 2019 starting at 5:30 P.M. at the American Legion Building on Wallingford St. in downtown.

Dr. Charles Davant, III, made a motion that the meeting be adjourned. Julian West seconded the motion that was approved unanimously.

 

 

RESOLUTION PRESENTED TO THE ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING OF THE BLOWING ROCK CIVIC ASSOCIATION 7/25/2019 BY JUDGE BOB BURROUGHS, CHAIRMAN OF THE NOMINATING COMMITTEE:

 

RESOLVED THAT EFFECTIVE 7/25/2019 THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE BLOWING ROCK CIVIC ASSOCIATION BE COMPOSED OF FIFTEEN MEMBERS, FOUR OF WHOM WILL BE ELECTED FOR THREE YEAR TERMS, FOUR OF WHOM WILL BE ELECTED FOR TWO YEAR TERMS AND SEVEN OF WHOM WILL BE ELECTED FOR ONE YEAR TERMS.

BE IT FUTHER RESOLVED THAT THE FOLLOWING MEMBERS BE ELECTED TO THE BRCA BOARD OF DIRECTORS:

TIM C. GUPTON – 2 YR. TERM

KARYN K. HERTERICH – 2 YR. TERM

JEAN KITCHIN – 2 YR. TERM

BLAKE PACE – 2 YR. TERM

BRIAN BEATY – 1 YR. TERM

DR. BARRY MILLER BUXTON – 1 YR. TERM

DAN J. MCLAMB – 1 YR. TERM

SENATOR TONY RAND – 1 YR. TERM

JAMES M. SCOTT – 1 YR. TERM

MARSHALL  SEALEY – 1 YR. TERM

JULIAN WEST – 1 YR. TERM

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT THE FOLLOWING BE ELECTED TO SERVE AS OFFICERS FOR THE FOLLOWING YEAR:

GEORGE T. WILCOX – CHAIRMAN

TIM C. GUPTON – PRESIDENT AND CEO

WILLIAM H. CARTER – VICE PRESIDENT

BETSY C. WILCOX – SECRETARY/TREASURER

 

 

ALERT !!! VOTE ON 40 ROOM HOTEL IN DOWNTOWN BLOWING ROCK SET FOR TUESDAY 6/11/2019 COUNCIL MEETING

Friends – After two heated public hearings including an unprecedented forced recusal of outstanding Council Member Sue Sweeting from participation in the important process and the exclusion of significant expert testimony in behalf of homeowners impacted by the project, Blowing Rock Council will vote on a requested permit by a Charlotte developer for a 40 room hotel with restaurant, bar, patio service and 53 parking places on a small .905 acre property back of the Speckled Trout in downtown. The vote by the remaining four council members will be part of the regular council monthly meeting that starts at 6:00 P.M. at Town Hall Tuesday night. Important factors concerning this project are:
1. If built the building will reach six stories (60 feet) above Highway 221 becoming a very prominent landmark towering over much of downtown.
2. Downtown buildings are currently limited to three stories (30 feet) in height with some increased height allowed with significant setbacks. The 60 feet height above a primary street could create an important precedent.
3. Town code requires currently that 75% of the front setback space for this building be green space and that all parking be at the sides or in the back of this building. The proposed plan eliminates this green space requirement and uses the declared front setback space off of Morningside Dr. for parking.
4. The project as proposed substantially exceeds the town’s impervious surface limit on terrain that has significant runoff.
5. The development’s customer traffic and tractor trailer delivery truck traffic would be on narrow neighborhood streets Morningside and Rainey.
6. Some parking spaces in the project do not meet town code size requirements.
7. No independent study was done on firefighting for this project.
8. No study was done on the impact of the project on peak summer weekend traffic on the surrounding neighborhood and downtown.
9. Expert appraiser Michael Lacey testified that the hotel development would substantially injure the value of adjoining and abutting residential properties.

 

We encourage everyone to attend this important meeting that will have a major impact on downtown Blowing Rock.

 

We also encourage everyone to participate in an open discussion of town issues with Council Member Sue Sweeting at 5:00 P.M. Tuesday night 6/11 at the Town Hall Conference Room.

 

Thanks so much,

 

Blowing Rock Civic Association