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Boone Planning Commission, Town Council To Consider Rivers Walk Development, Rezoning Along Rivers Park

A conceptual plan of the development. This image is view from Poplar Grove Road.
A conceptual plan of the development. This image is view from Poplar Grove Road.

By Jesse Wood

Feb. 4, 2015. A developer is seeking the approval of a mixed-use development on a few parcels along Poplar Grove Road and Water Street, where the old Southern States building is located, called Rivers Walk, and the town staff is seeking to rezone town-owned property known as Rivers Park.

The Boone Area Planning Commission and Boone Town Council will consider the plans this month. Earlier this week, this matter was on the agenda of the town’s quarterly public hearing.

In September, the Boone Board of Adjustment denied a couple variance requests for the mixed-use project, and John Weaver, who was representing developer Harrod/AP LLC, said at the time the project was going back to the drawing board.

The plans of the building facing Water Street is different from what was re-submitted (see below).

A development summary of the project, listed in the quarterly-hearing packet, noted that the mixed-use development includes 16,647 square feet of commercial space and the residential community has 145 apartments, half of which feature one to two bedrooms per apartment for a total of 380 beds. More than 180 parking spaces are listed in the summary, and offsite contract parking for remaining residents will be available as required.

Commercial uses outlined in the plan include 2,000 square feet of “leasing/management/real estate,” 3,000 square feet of “exercise facility open to the public,” 3,000 square feet of “restaurant/brewpub” and 8,647 square feet of “retail/office/personal service.”

Also a greenway and bike trails are planned along Boone Creek, which bisects the property and where development is hindered. All utility services will be placed underground.

Before: Initially, glass was a focal point of the building facing Water Street.

Conceptual designs of the development differ from what the Boone Board of Adjustment saw last year to what was submitted in the quarterly public hearing packet. See attached images.

The proposed project is composed of five connected buildings that are each a maximum 40 feet tall. Initially, glass was a focal point of the building facing Water Street. The building now features more granite and brick facing Water Street.

The proposed development is planned to be situated on three parcels – two of which are currently owned by G&B Energy and one owned by Southern States. The development summary notes that “none of the existing buildings are occupied and most of them have no practical use.”

Within the planning application, the developer is seeking to rezone the three parcels from B1 Central Business to Conditional District B1. A conditional district rezoning is being pursued because of an existing transitional zone, which exist to protect neighborhoods and residential areas from adverse impacts of potentially incompatible development. When a transitional zone exists, developers must delineate how they plan to mitigate negative impacts such as noise, lighting, etc.

“A transitional zone exists on the subject property due to R-1 zoned properties across Poplar Grove Road. These [Rivers-Coffey] properties are owned by the Town of Boone and known as Rivers Park. No homes are located on the R-1 properties and deed restrictions prohibit residential uses in the future,” the development summary read.

Town staff also filed a general use map amendment to rezone properties from R-1 Single Family to B-1 Central Business. Of the seven parcels, which are roughly 13 acres combined, on what it is known as Rivers Park, five are vacant and two single-family dwellings are not in use. The properties border B-1 Central Business district.

The Boone Area Planning Commission will meet on Feb. 9 and the Boone Town Council will meet later this month to hear from the developer and town staff and consider the requests.