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Blowing Rock Townhomes Project Rejected by Planning Board and Town Council

By Nathan Ham

The Blowing Rock Town Council unanimously shot down a 12-unit townhome project proposal in their most recent meeting on Feb. 13.

The request, presented by Walter Fields representing Grand Dakota Development, LLC, was centered on a proposal to turn the former Cheeseburgers in Paradise property into 12 townhome units.

According to a rezoning request filed by Grand Dakota Development, the project proposal included the properties of 159 and 167 Rainey Street and 116 Morningside Drive. The proposal included demolishing two residential structures and constructing 12 townhomes on .905 acres of land.

The proposal did not meet some of the requirements for the Central Business zoning permit, including being at least 15 feet off the road and no taller than 30 feet. The proposal stated that the townhomes would be 15 feet back of Highway 221 but only 12 feet from the edge of Rainey Street and Morningside Drive. The proposal also stated the height of the structure being at approximately 34.5 feet. Grand Dakota Development sought a waiver for each of these requirements.

The Blowing Rock Planning Board recommended disapproval of the rezoning at a meeting that took place on Dec. 21, 2017.

The town council followed that up with a unanimous vote against the townhome proposal.

“I think the project, as a citizen, looks good. There are a few disadvantages. One is it does not meet code. We have rules, we have regulations for a reason. Sometimes we bend those regulations, but we don’t break them,” said Mayor Charles Sellers.

Councilman Jim Steele said a project like this one is good for the town financially, but also that having 12 townhomes on a small piece of land such as this one was too dense for the town. Blowing Rock town ordinances call for no more than five units per acre for a multi-family dwelling.

“I listen to the people that live here. I had an awful lot of people that said ‘Mr. Steele, we don’t want that project here.’ I certainly want to listen to them,” Steele said.