By Nathan Ham
The 2030 Land Use Master Plan, approved by the Boone Town Council in 2009, was repealed on Thursday night by a slim 3-2 vote.
Loretta Clawson, Sam Furgiuele and Connie Ulmer all voted to repeal the plan while Marshall Ashcraft and Lynne Mason voted against the motion.
Before Thursday night’s vote, the potential repeal of the plan had already drawn the ire of several Boone citizens, particularly when a public hearing to discuss the appeal was scheduled at almost midnight at the previous council meeting on Feb. 15.
The Boone 2030 Plan, which included public input from people in the Boone community, was designed with the thought in mind of expanding the community in a way that allowed for transit-friendly mobility for cars, walkers, bikers and public transit while being financially, socially and environmentally sustainable.
Those in support of the land use plan, including Boone citizen and former town councilman Quint David, feel like the current town council might have jumped the gun a bit by repealing this plan.
“Many of our sustainability plans are based on the 2030 plan action items, and our committee has not reviewed how repealing these items could change our outlook on sustainability in Boone. It seems the council is moving a change of the last 10 years of planning forward with little or no input from their citizen committees, which is very worrisome,” David said.
One of the major reasons why some have been anxious to repeal the 2030 Plan was the building of The Standard apartment complex on Blowing Rock Road. The 2030 Plan called for a park with 30 housing units where The Standard ended up being built. However, according to David, a previous town council approved a 100-unit, five-story building there. That’s what ended up getting built instead of the smaller housing unit with a park that would have kept the green space and aesthetically pleasing look that so many in Boone enjoy.
“We thought that was silly a few years back, so we created the planned development process a lot of communities use to have more direct input into projects to hopefully prevent mega projects like The Standard from happening again,” David said.
At the town council’s planning retreat in January, the discussion had already started about potentially combining the 2030 Plan with the 2006 Comprehensive Plan to put together a new land use plan that will better serve the town. Thursday’s repeal vote will bring on discussions and proposals for a new land use plan.