FRIENDS – THE FOLLOWING ARE HEADLINES FROM THE SUBJECT MEETING. FOR MORE DETAILS PLEASE SEE THE INFORMATION LISTED BELOW THE TOWN COUNCIL HIGHLIGHTS SECTION
1) MAYVIEW RESIDENTS ASKED THE TOWN TO CLOSE THE MAYVIEW STORAGE YARD ON CONE RD. THAT THEY CONSIDER TO BE AN “EYESORE”
2) THE BRCA PRESENTED A LEGAL OPINION LETTER THAT SAYS THE TOWN MUST RECEIVE FULL AND FAIR VALUE FOR ANY ASSET TRANSFERRED BY SALE OR LONG TERM LEASE TO ANOTHER PARTY.
3) THE OLD WHITE HOUSE AT THE CORNER OF MAIN AND PINE DOWNTOWN WILL BE TORN DOWN AND ALL TREES WILL BE REMOVED FROM THE LOT. A SIX RESIDENTIAL UNITS, TWO RETAIL/RESTAURANT UNITS DEVELOPMENT HAS BEEN APPROVED FOR THAT SITE.
4) COUNCIL APPROVED MOVING AHEAD WITH DETAILED PLANS AND PERMITS TO IMPROVE SUNSET DRIVE FROM MAIN TO 321. ESTIMATED COST IS $ 1.5 MILLION INCLUDING $ 835,000 FROM BONDS AND $ 665,000 FROM TOWN REVENUES.
5) THE VILLAGE FOUNDATION’S FIREHOUSE TASK FORCE INTERIM REPORT ON PRODUCING A THEATER/CULTURAL CENTER FOCUSED ON USE OF THE OLD FIREHOUSE. TOWN STAFF AND COUNCIL MEMBERS EXPRESSED SERIOUS CONCERN ABOUT THE SUBSTANTIAL COST TO TAXPAYERS OF PROVIDING AN ALTERNATE BUILDING TO HOUSE PARK, FLOWERS AND GREENERY MAINTENANCE EQUIPMENT NOW KEPT IN THE OLD FIREHOUSE. THIS COST WOULD BE IN ADDITION TO THE LARGE DIRECT COST TO TAXPAYERS OF TRANSFERRING THIS VERY VALUABLE ASSET FOR A PROPOSED TOKEN PAYMENT LEASE.
DETAILED Report on July 10, 2018 Blowing Rock Council Meeting
Friends – The subject meeting included a packed agenda that took four hours to cover. The following are highlights:1. Mayview Residents urged the Council to close the Town Storage Yard on Cone Rd. that they consider to be a glaring “eyesore”. They contended that this closure will significantly improve the beauty of Mayview. They said the closure and replacement by an attractive alternate use will be a substantial benefit for the entire town.
2. A citizen urged scrupulous adherence to an effective town policy to preserve, protect and increase the number of town trees.
3. Bill Carter, Vice President of the Blowing Rock Civic Association, in urging careful protection of Blowing Rock taxpayer assets presented a legal opinion letter from Charlotte law firm Johnston Allison & Hord to the council. This opinion letter states that North Carolina state law requires that any transfer of town property whether by sale or long term lease can only be done by: 1) competitive bids; 2) negotiated offers with advertisement and upset bids; 3) public auction; or, 4) a full and fair consideration exchange. For example, should the town decide to lease the old firehouse it could only do so by receiving full and fair value for this valuable property.
4. Council approved a six condos, two retail/restaurant units development on the 1/3 acre lot now containing a large white house built in 1887 on Main St. at Pine St. in downtown. Some citizens objected citing several concerns including demolition of the house, loss of green space and the removal of large trees now on the property. The house has sat empty for five years during which time realtor Sue Glenn said a number of possibilities had been explored for the property without success. Steve Heatherington, a Durham developer, proposed the approved plan after soliciting input from a number of Blowing Rock organizations and citizens. The BRCA Development Evaluation Committee carefully reviewed the project and found no major problems with it. Significant variances in density, height, setbacks, and green space were required. Council members Matheson, Powell, Steele and Yount voted for approval of the development. Council member Sweeting voted against it.
5. The Town’s engineering firm McGill Engineering presented a plan for long discussed improvements to Sunset Drive that will include parking on both sides of the street and street, curbs, gutters and sidewalk improvement including extension to Valley Blvd. The council unanimously approved moving ahead with design and permitting for construction that will start late in the fourth quarter of this year or the first quarter of 2019. Considerable concern was expressed by some council members about the estimated $ 1.5 million dollar cost of this work. $ 835,000 of this amount would be covered by Transportation Bonds approved by voters in 2014 but the additional $ 665,000 would be covered by budget cuts or a tax increase.
6. The Village Foundation’s Firehouse Task Force gave an interim report urging use of the town’s old firehouse on Park Avenue for a 90-120 seat theater and “cultural center”. Town Parks and Recreation Director Jennifer Brown informed the meeting that a substantial amount of important park maintenance equipment is currently stored conveniently in the 3600 square feet building. This equipment is necessary to maintain the beautiful flowers, parks and public greenery in downtown. The old firehouse would have to be replaced with a very expensive similar building close to the current one if it is leased for a token amount to the Foundation. This would require a significant property tax increase. To protect taxpayers state law requires, according to the above referenced opinion letter, that the town receive full market value for the old firehouse from the Foundation.