By Nathan Ham
A recent conditional use permit to convert the former Moody Furniture building to a restaurant/retail space in Blowing Rock was approved by a 4-1 town council vote during their meeting on July 9. Councilmember Virginia Powell voted against the application approval.
Bob Lovern, who is the property owner and developer, applied for the permit for the restaurant/retail space and to add a surface parking lot. The property is located at 125 Sunset Drive.
According to information provided by Blowing Rock Planning Director Kevin Rothrock, the application included the addition of an elevated patio area and a front porch extension to make it handicap accessible. The application also proposed a garage door on the west side of the building that will serve as access to the patio. New awnings at the entryways were proposed as well.
Parking for the proposed project was the sticking point for why Powell decided to vote against the project. Three street parking spots will be lost due to construction.
To remedy that loss of parking, Lovern’s application proposed a paved lot with 24 parking spots that included one handicap parking spot and has two different turn-ins for entry and exit. Some of the spots will be reserved parking spaces for “off-site apartments and off-site retail within the excess spaces in the parking lot.” Those additional parking spaces should make up for the loss of street parking.
Blowing Rock town requirements for the project stated that the project must allocate seven parking spots and be responsible for any curbing and sidewalk upgrades needed as part of the Sunset Drive Streetscape Project. According to the planning department, Lovern has already paid for all sidewalk and curbing costs.
A final site plan will have to be submitted before any building permits are issued.