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Boone Town Council Meets Thursday: Rivers Walk, Budget, Cooper Settlement, Parking

By Jesse Wood

The Boone Town Council will meet on Thursday, June 16, at 5:30 p.m. for its monthly meeting, which takes place in the Council Chambers at 1600 Blowing Rock Road.

In preview of tonight’s meeting, below are a few agenda items to be discussed or acted upon.

The Budget

The Boone Town Council will adopt the 2016-17 fiscal year budget.

The proposed $26 million budget maintains the current tax rate of 41 per $100 valuation and features no increases in water or sewer fees. It maintains the current service levels with no additional positions and includes a 2.5 percent COLA for employees.

Initially, Town Manager John Ward proposed an increase of the municipal vehicle tax to $30 to raise $100,000 to fund additional street paving for the town, but in budget retreats, the Boone Town Council instead voted to raise the tax to $20 with $5 to remain as a continued allocation for sidewalk improvements and the remainder to go to paving projects.

Below are the town’s Outside Agency funding recommendations that are up for approval by the Boone Town Council on Thursday:

  • Watauga County Project on Aging: 0
  • Hunger & Health Coalition: $18,000
  • Community Care Clinic: $25,000
  • The Children’s Playhouse: $5,000
  • Hospitality House: $30,000
  • The Children’s Council: 0
  • W.A.M.Y.: 0
  • Watauga Emergency & Rescue Squad: $5,000
  • SAHA: 0*
  • Friends of Watauga Public Library: $5,000
  • Leola Community Garden: 0
  • Watauga County Parks and Rec: 0
  • Western Youth Network: $5,000
  • O.A.S.I.S.: $14,000
  • Mountain Alliance: $8,000

*Boone Town Council approved $20,000 for SAHA programming in coordination with the Town of Boone’s Cultural Resources Department.

View the proposed budget here.

Disclosure of Settlement Terms With Coopers

The Town of Boone disclosed settlement terms with the Cooper Family over the town’s condemnation of property for the water-intake project near Todd. The town has agreed to pay Ronald and Donald Cooper $250,000, which includes $23,700 deposited initially for the condemnation of that property. In return, the Coopers will dismiss lawsuits against the town regarding open meetings and the condemnation of property. The Boone Town Council has 30 days to approve the settlement. See here for more background on this conflict and see the full terms of settlement here.

Rivers Walk

The Boone Town Council will consider the planned development zoning map amendment for the mixed-use Rivers Walk development on and beyond the old Southern States property in downtown Boone.

The proposed development is located on the following properties: 178 South Water Street, 190 and 208 Poplar Grove Road and will consist of 119 dwelling units with 380 bedrooms – in addition to commercial space for restaurants, retail, gym, office space, etc. 

Guidance on Parking Requirements for Developments

Town staff is seeking guidance on requested changes to parking requirements in the Unified Development Ordinance. According to a memo from Town Manager John Ward to council:

“Specifically, staff would like to discuss what your expectations are for your request to re-establish minimum parking standards and what number of spaces per available bed in multi-family you would like to consider. Staff is clear from the direction obtained at the March 11, 2016, Planning Retreat that you would also like to consider a parking fee in-lieu for downtown developments, re-establish minimums and maximums, change ‘sufficient’ to ‘adequate’ within the parking section and update bicycle parking requirements.”