The Valley Boulevard Vision Committee completed the second of two community meetings. The Civic Association was represented at both meetings and attended all of the committee meetings leading up to the community meetings.
The meetings were led by Benchmark who reviewed 8 new buildings and 22 renovations since the current Land Use Code was adopted in 1997. In the interim, completion of 321 project has substantially impacted the look and feel of Valley Boulevard.
This review is our first time to re-think redevelopment of Valley Boulevard since completion of 321 with four lanes, sidewalks, lamp posts and landscaping.
We have a new slate to improve and represent the look of Blowing Rock. One citizen said we have a choice between Highlands or Gatlinberg. Clearly our citizens want a look reflects the character of Blowing Rock.
The next step will be for the committee with the help of Benchmark to summarize the community input and begin a process to craft recommendations to the Town Council. You can share your input by email to Council Member Sue Sweeting who is chairperson of the committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Civic Association’s 2019/2020 Action Plan includes specific recommendations to consider as updates to the Land Use Code. Our recommendations follow:
1. Increase setbacks to 30 feet from current 20 feet and continue the maximum height limit of 50 feet
2. Require lawns, landscaping and trees in the front of buildings
3. Place parking on the back or side of building and landscape parking lots
4. Adopt separate Land Use Codes that specifically address the narrow lots on East Valley Boulevard
5. Embrace the flower and landscaping image of downtown Blowing Rock on the medians and banks along Valley Boulevard
6. Plan additional landscaping of newly created banks with stone walls and landscaping like Main Street at the Chestnut neighborhood banks
7. Protect and plan for restoration of the New River to use as an amenity in the future and to protect the stream bed from inappropriate stormwater runoff
8. Adopt a specific sign ordinance that places low signs near the driveway entrances and does not allow multiple signs or back-lighted signs
9. Adopt outdoor lighting guidelines
10. Clarify architectural design guidelines with more pictures to include colors, materials, windows and sloped roofs
11. Include public art along corridor
Please read the article by Thomas Sherrill in the Watauga Democrat which summaries the two community meetings.