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Watauga County Board of Commissioners To Meet Tuesday, See Agenda Items, Packet Info

By Jesse Wood

The Watauga County Board of Commissioners will meet on Tuesday, Jan. 19, at 5:30 p.m.

New River Advocates Presentation

Deborah Greene and Frank Packard, members of the New River Advocates, a nonprofit that opposes the Town of Boone’s water intake project along the South Fork of the New River, will give a presentation before the commissioners.

The New River Advocates are requesting that the commissioners “take the legal action necessary to prevent the town of Boone from seeking final judgment without the approval of the Watauga County Commissioners in violation of N.C.G.S. §153-14.5.” See “Petition for Action” on page 14 of meeting packet.

Yearly Reports ADHD, CCC

Appalachian District Health Department Director Beth Lovette will present the health department’s annual report to the commissioners. Community Care Clinic Director Melissa Selby will also update the board of the clinic’s work in 2015. View reports here.

Support for Bond Proposal

Johnny Burleson, Senior Associate Vice Chancellor for Advancement with Appalachian State University, will present the benefits of the Connect NC Bond Proposal and answer any questions from commissioners.

Funding from proposal related to Watauga County include, $70 million for ASU’s College of Nursing & Health Sciences building, $1.5 million to improve Grandfather Mountain State Park; $5.6 million for improvements for Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute; $900,000 to improve Elk Knob State Park; and $600,000 to improve Beech Creek Bog State Natural Area.

The county has already prepared a draft resolution in support of the bond proposal for Tuesday’s meeting that the board will be able to vote on. Citizens will be able to vote on the proposal during the primary on March 15.

Forest Plan Revision Report

US District Ranger Nicholas Larson will present the Forest Plan Revision to the commissioners. Parts of the revision that may affect Watauga County include:

No areas in Watauga County are in the inventory of potential lands suitable for includion in the National Wilderness Preservation System, however these lands may be in the viewshed of Watuaga:

  • Harper Creek –currently a designated Wilderness Study Area (WSA) (mostly Avery Co)
  • Harper Creek Extension, Sugar Knob – mostly to the south of Harper Creek WSA, it’s right on the border of Avery/Burke mostly in Burke
  • Lost Cove – currently a designated Wilderness Study Area (WSA) (Avery Co)
  • Upper Wilson Creek – headwaters of Wilson Creek on Avery/Caldwell line, currently an Inventoried Roadless Area (mostly Avery Co)

No areas in Watauga County are included in the evaluation process to identify rivers for inclusion in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, however these rivers may be in the viewshed of Watauga:

  • Lost Cove Creek, mostly Avery County
  • Harpers Creek, mostly Avery County
  • Gragg Prong Creek, Avery County
  • Johns River, Caldwell County

Watauga County Public Hearings

Watauga County Planning Director Joe Furman, Planning and Inspections will present recommended changes by the Planning Board to the county wireless communications tower ordinance.

The new ordinance is modeled after the North Carolina League of Municipalities version and incorporates federal and state law and court cases. The new ordinance would allow for greater height in some cases to encourage concealed wireless technology and increase collocation.

To close out the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Scattered Site Housing

Rehabilitation Program, a public hearing is required.

Both hearings are requested to be held Tuesday, Feb. 16, at 5:30 p.m.

See the agenda and packet info here.