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LETTERS / A Request – An Action/Reaction Timeline on the Old HS Property Sale

Dear Editor.

As a resident of Boone and a previous resident of the Boone ETJ, I am both highly disturbed and confused about the actions taken by the Boone Town Council concerning the sale of the the old high school property.  I’m asking the High Country Press to help me and all other residents, city and county, with a timeline of events and actions taken since Mr. Templeton and Watauga County agreed on the $18.9 million purchase price. Please, in an article, fill in the holes and fix any incorrect info I have. This is what I have so far:

In mid November 2012, Mr. Templeton and the County signed a purchase agreement on the sale of the property with a 6 months due diligence period (end date late April) for feasibility study.

Early January 2013, Mr Templeton’s lawyers met with town officials (Bailey and Graham) and county officials (Geouque and Spear) to discuss the plans for the property. One item discussed was rezoning a southern portion of the property to R-3, multi-family.

Sometime in January, Bailey from the town contacts Templeton’s representatives to say the town is “moving the goalposts” and are in the process of writing new restrictions on multi-family projects; and these new restrictions will impact their development.

I don’t know when the Affordable Housing Task Force was formed; but I do know they hired an outside study for $21,000. The new restrictions above are the work of this AHTF.

In mid March, the Town of Boone passed these absurd new “non-affordable housing” restrictions in a town meeting where many spoke against these unworkable new ordinances.  Only one town council member spoke and voted against; mainly because that $21,000 study to advise on affordable housing, approved by the Town Council, hadn’t been completed!   Your tax dollars at work….

Early April, Mr. Templeton notifies the Town and County that with the new ordinances his plans and project are no longer feasible and he will not buy the old HS property.

We, the county and town residents are left holding the bag (old HS appraisal – $8 million) with yearly interest of $800,000 (as I’ve been told). And the value of the old HS land is worth less and less due to these new AHTF ordinances, appropriately called “non-affordable.”

And now the County, being stuck with this huge debt producing property because the Town Council changes the development ordinances 4 months after the $18.9 million offer was accepted, reallocates the sales tax distribution.

And the Town, who caused the deal to fail, is calling the most foul I’ve ever heard.

Thank you for your help here,

Elizabeth Kivette