The Boone Area Chamber of Commerce provided a wonderful service last Tuesday, hosting a well moderated Meet the Candidates forum for Boone municipal candidates. The forum featured lively discussion, and provided clarity for residents as they make their voting decisions starting next week. Many from the audience submitted questions centered on the relationship between the current County Commission majority and the Boone Town Council. Friday morning, GoBlueRidge.net posted a news report and accompanying audio segment entitled, “Contentions raised over old WHS site.” During closing statements, I began my remarks with some history on the Town-County relationship, stating that the Town had offered 150,000 GDP water reserve and provided conditional B zones an exemption from the new workforce housing ordinance in UDO Section 175, which thereby exempted the old WHS property from the requirements. The story quotes Council candidate Mark Templeton as saying the property was not exempt from the workforce housing standards. The attorney representing Templeton Properties at the February public hearing on these standards suggested amended language that would allow the developer an exemption when they pursued a conditional mixed use project. After reading this story, knowing the old WHS property was exempt, I corresponded with reporter Steve Frank, showing him the minutes, the amendment proposed by Templeton’s attorney at public hearing, and where the Council voted to adopt the standards WITH their own attorney’s suggested language. I asked for clarification in the Friday news report that the old WHS site was and still is exempt from the workforce housing standards, and was refused despite the facts being in the record.
The citizens of Boone deserve honest and accurate reporting from their news outlets, free from commentary and distortion. GoBlueRidge.net purports to be a news outlet rather than a commentary site, and therefore should strive for complete and accurate reporting of the facts.
Mark Templeton and I had a very cordial discussion after the forum, and I appreciated the diversity of opinion he brought to the conversations. I don’t claim to know the reason the developer had for pulling their bid for the property. However, the family-oriented workforce housing standards shouldn’t be one of them because the Council took action to make it and other conditional business district projects exempt from those requirements at the request of the attorney for the developer. Refusing to report the facts when a candidate makes a statement in error is selective reporting. Bottom line: the old WHS property is exempt from the family-oriented workforce housing requirements, and I hope to see a project proposal before Town Council soon.
Boone Town Council
GoBlueRidge: “Contentions raised over old WHS site”
February Quarterly Public Hearing Minutes with attorney suggesting amendment (page 5)
February Town Council Minutes with amendment and final vote (page 4)
UDO Section 175: Workforce Housing Standards (page 18)