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Group Appeals Conditional Use Permit Town of Blowing Rock Issued for Mountainleaf Hotel Development

A conceptual rendering of the Mountainleaf development.
A conceptual rendering of the Mountainleaf development.

By Jesse Wood

Nov. 18, 2014. In an attempt to block the Mountainleaf development, a group is appealing the conditional use permit that the Town of Blowing Rock issued for a hotel development proposed by Catellus Group on a seven-acre tract just two blocks from the heart of Main Street in downtown Blowing Rock.

After a limited liability corporation called Concerned Citizens of Blowing Rock petitioned the Watauga County Superior Court, Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Phil Ginn issued a writ of certiorari and ordered the Town of Blowing Rock, Blowing Rock Town Council and the Catellus Group to provide “a true and complete copy of the record and the transcript of the public hearings and meetings” held by the town regarding the approval of the conditional use permit for the courts to review.

This order is dated Nov. 13 and signed by Ginn.

After two lengthy public hearings in the summer, the Blowing Rock Town Council approved the development in a split vote. It was a contentious issue with those opposing the project stating that this would divide downtown Blowing Rock and harm the charm of the village.

The registered agent of the Concern Citizens of Blowing Rock, LLC, is George Wilcox, according to records filed with the state, and the petition lists three of the petitioners, those that happen to own a 11.39-acre tract that adjoins the hotel development site: Katharine Holding Dunlap, Margaret Holding-Barrett and Robert Pace Holding, Jr.

“Petitions will show that the Town of Blowing Rock improperly approved the CUP and three of the members (Dunlap, Holding-Barrett and Holding, Jr.) will suffer direct injury to their property by reason of the town’s approval of the CUP,” the petition reads. “On information and belief, the Holding property will be substantially diminished in value by reason of the approval of the CUP on the adjacent subject property.”

The petition claims that the Blowing Rock Town Council’s decision to approve the CUP was:

  • unsupported by substantial competent evidence in view of the entire record
  • arbitrary and capricious
  • in violation of constitutional provisions, including those protecting procedural due process rights
  • in excess of the statutory authority conferred upon the town or commissioners by town ordinances
  • inconsistent with applicable procedures specified by statute or town ordinances
  • affected by other errors of law

On Tuesday, Blowing Rock Mayor J.B. Lawrence responded, “Well, I think we did everything according to procedure. It will be interesting to see how it turns out. I certainly understand their concerns, but I think we did what was best for the town.”

Lawrence acknowledged that Town Attorney Allen Moseley would’ve stepped in if he thought a town board’s decision would not hold up in court.

“I would certainly hope so,” Lawrence said. “I don’t want to do anything that is out of order.”

See judge’s order: writcert.

For more background on this issue, click here to read several prior stories, which include video of the meetings and artistic renderings of the proposal.