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