Boone Town Council To Meet Thursday: Noise Ordinance Exemption, Northern Peaks Trail & More…

Published Wednesday, September 14, 2016 at 9:16 am

Compiled by Jesse Wood

The Boone Town Council will meet on Thursday, Sept. 15, at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers at Blowing Rock Road. Click here to view the entire meeting packet. 


Public Hearing, Action on Noise Ordinance Exemption

The public hearing begins at 5:35 p.m.

Jane Freeman of Rodgers Builders, the company contracted to construct the ASU Beaver College of Health Sciences Building located at the corner of Deerfield Road and State Farm Road, has requested an exemption to the Town’s noise ordinance in order to allow construction activity during the currently prohibited hours of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. in order to conduct certain activities including concrete pouring during that time frame.

Town Code Chapter 93.02(C)(1)(h) notes construction activity as prohibited during these hours, “…unless conducted by a governmental entity or its contractor and specifically authorized by the Boone Town Council following general notice to the public and a public hearing. For purposes of the notice required by this section and all subsequent sections, it shall be sufficient that the specific topic of the public hearing is included in the agenda of the meeting during which it is to take place and the agenda, with the item listed, is posted in advance of the meeting on the town’s official website.”

Council is asked, following public hearing, to consider and possibly approve the exemption to the noise ordinance for construction activity related to the construction of the ASU Health Sciences Building in order to allow activity to take place between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.


Discussion Regarding Amendment to UDO – Specifying Building Standards

Submitted by Council Member Lynne Mason

To direct staff to develop an amendment to the UDO specifying building standards that re in scale and in harmony with the character of the Boone community. We have recently seen new projects that are very large in scale and not in harmony with the character of Boone. Need to specify building standards in the UDO that are in scale with the character of the Boone community.


Discussion of Planned Development Process

Council Members Clawson and Underdown Collins have submitted requests for Council to discuss the Planned Development process as well as the possibility of a moratorium on this process.


Discussion regarding Town Code Chapter 73: Towing

Submitted by Town Attorney Allison Meade

To discuss and consider directing the town attorney to draft amendments to Town Code Chapter 73: Towing.


Initiate Review, Update of 2030 Plan

Submitted by Council Member Lynne Mason

After numerous workshops with public input, the 2030 Plan was adopted in 2009. It has now been seven years since the adoption of this plan. This plan is the guiding vision for future growth and development in Boone, and guides updates to the UDO. ASU, which also developed their growth plan in 2009, is in the process of updating their plan. It is time for the Town to review

and update our 2030 Plan. We need to take a critical look at what is going as intended, and to identify areas we need to update in order to achieve the vision we have for our community. This process, with the assistance of Town staff, needs to include Town Council, the Planning Commission and the opportunity for public input.


Consideration of Following Development Cases:

  • The Boone Town Council will consider the following cases:
  • Rivers Walk Planned Development Zoning Map Amendment
  • Welsh Conditional District Zoning Map Amendment
  • App State University General Use Zoning Map Amendment
  • Theatre Marquee

Rivers Walk

Rivers Walk is a proposed development slated for the old Southern States property at the intersection of Water Street and Poplar Grove Road in downtown Boone. The development is proposed to feature 380 beds in 151 units and a 199-vehicle parking deck.

Jeff Githens with McKinley Boone, LLC filed for a zoning map amendment petition for the mixed-use proposal with the Boone Planning & Inspections. During a town meeting in June, Githens stated that the project has a budget in the ballpark of $35 million.

Welsh’s Art Studio

David Welsh, a former realtor with Coldwell, Blair, Banker and Associates and an entrepreneur behind the soon-to-be-in-Boone Tank’s Taco y Tequila at the site of the old Parthenon Café near the App State campus, is looking to transform a college rental into an art studio.

The property in question is located at 342 Old Bristol Road in Boone, and the project is titled, “The Blue House,” on the application form.

App State’s “Howard Street Hall”

Appalachian State University has filed an application with the Boone Planning and Inspections office for a general use zoning map amendment for property located at 663 Howard Street. The project is titled “Howard Street Hall.”

App State is seeking to rezone the property from R3 multiple-family residential to U1 University.

A description of the project states: “Renovation of 1st and 2nd floors, conversion of sanctuary into two classrooms and renovation [unclear] of existing offices and classrooms into faculty offices. Addition of elevator will be required.”

App State purchased the former First Presbyterian Church in 2008.

Town of Boone Theatre Marquee

The Town of Boone is also filing for a UDO text amendment for the Appalachian Theatre project. The text amendment pertains to the projecting theatre marquee and lighting.

Proposed changes include allowing “use of flashing, scrolling or intermittent lights” during the time the theatre is open to the public and prohibited from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Parking Structures UDO Text Amendment

During the previous public hearing on these cases, Council agreed to allow staff to merge Case 20160377 Parking Structures with the upcoming changes to UDO Article 24 Parking to be presented during the September public hearing:

Alan Crees with Municipal Engineering Services filed an application for a UDO – Unified Development Ordinance – text amendment related to parking structures in June. According to the application, “App South” paid the application fee.

In a letter to Boone Planning and Inspections Director Bill Bailey, Crees wrote: “We have been investigating the feasibility of developing parking structures in the B3 (General Business) and OI (Office and Institutional) zoning districts. We have found that it is not feasible to construct parking structures in these zoning districts because they are considered ‘buildings’ and have to meet floor area and open space intensity ratios that are applied to conventionally occupied buildings.”

The proposed text amendment would permit parking structures to be “feasibly constructed in the B3 and OI zoning districts” and would include parking structures to be permitted under the town’s new planned development process.

See more information on all of the following cases here.


AppalCART Presentation: Record Ridership & Limited Funding23 2

AppalCART Director Craig Hughes’s following letter is attached to the Boone Town Council’s September meeting packet:

Appalcart is proud to announce that we are hitting record ridership numbers with full buses on many routes during peak times. Compared to the Wilmington ‘Wave’ bus system at 1.47 million, or Asheville’s ‘ART’ system at 1.46 million, Appalcart is over 1.8 million passenger trips per year though our population is much smaller.

With success comes growing pains, and currently routes Red, Teal, Blue, Gold, Pop 105, Orange, and

Purple are routinely full at peak times. Unfortunately, passengers are being left behind at stops until demand goes down. There is currently limited or no way to increase public transportation ridership on these routes without additional funding for buses, or without taking routes away from other areas and riders in town. As more housing units continue to develop along overcrowded bus routes, this full-bus situation could translate back to people opting to attempt to drive rather than ride the bus. As congested as rush hour already is, this might create severe traffic issues for the town. (see attached map for the most-used routes)

Plan:

Appalcart is currently maximizing state and federal funding along with grants to continue and expand or replace aging buses. AppalCART is scheduled to replace 9 buses over the next 2 years. However, capital grants do not fund additional bus drivers or operational expenses. As Appalcart continues to diligently search for funding sources, state and federal transportation grants will remain at current levels or expire. One of those grants (Job Access and Reverse Commute-5316) that expires June 30, 2017, will result in a loss of approximately $300,000 in yearly revenues. In order to prevent the loss of routes and service, alternative funding options are being discussed.

1.The AppalCART Board would like to work with App State, the Town of Boone, and Watauga County

leadership to develop a combined mobility plan, similar to NC State University, to ensure routes and assets are being utilized fully and efficiently, and that the idea of limited, rather than unlimited, bus transportation is included as part of the development discussion process for new projects with anticipated high bus usage.

Analysis, ridership surveys, and route improvements have not been completed in several years. Hiring a transportation planning consultant is highly recommended and currently our first priority.

2.Appalcart needs YOUR INPUT as members of our community for ideas on how the issues of both record ridership numbers and the lack of funding should be addressed. Please contact me at [email protected] or at 828-297-1300 ext. 104.


Northern Peaks Trail Presentation:

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Eric Woolridge will give a presentation on the proposed Northern Peaks Trail in Northern Watauga and Central Ashe County.

The trail links key peaks in both counties such as Howards Knob, Rich Mountain, Tater Hill, Snake Mountain, Elk Knob, Long Hope Valley (South and North), The Peak, Three Top Mountain, Bluff Mountain, Paddy Mountain, Phoenix Mountain and Mount Jefferson.

The proposal features 35 miles of trail from Boone to Mount Jefferson. 14 miles or 40 percent of the trail is located within conserved lands.


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