Nov. 24, 2014. Dear Editor,
Laws thoughtfully made to protect homeowners and citizens are important. If laws are not followed a disastrous result can afflict a community for years. In approving the Mountainleaf project in Blowing Rock, legal counsel for a group of citizens and homeowners has determined that important laws were not followed. This group looks forward to supporting thoughtful developments that will improve the uniquely attractive qualities of blowing rock while expanding the tax base of the town. This group thinks that the best way to assure the high-quality developments that Blowing Rock deserves is to carefully comply with the legal requirements of the conditional use permit process. Before blowing rock town council approved the Mountainleaf project they were required by law to determine that:
- The use or development will not substantially injure the value of adjoining or abutting property.
- Fact: No studies were produced to support this conclusion.
- Fact: Councilman Albert Yount, a licensed appraiser, firmly warned council against approving this project without evidence to justify this conclusion.
- Fact: If council neglects to comply with this requirement no homeowner is safe from approval of a retail outlet next to them that would destroy their residential property value.
- Legal counsel also found that insufficient evidence was produced by the developer for other legally required findings of fact for approval of this permit.
During the public hearings on the Mountainleaf project a number of community leaders opposed its approval for a variety of reasons including:
- The substantial amount of additional downtown retail space it contains.
- The self contained design of the development.
- The increased traffic impact on main street and particularly on residents of hill street.
- The incompatibility with the unique village quality of downtown blowing rock .
- other concerns.
While the substance of the development is critically important to the future viability of blowing rock, closely following the legally required process for approval is also very important. The group asks that the council repeal the Mountainleaf conditional use permit to enable the developer to resubmit so the town can comply with all legal provisions of the conditional use permit process in again considering this development. The object of the appeal of the permit for the Mountainleaf development is simply to have the important process done in compliance with laws not only for this project but also for the many future projects that will be presented to council.
Concerned Citizens of Blowing Rock, LLC