By Nathan Ham
Several speakers in support of and in opposition to potential changes to the Valle Crucis Historic District Ordinance had their voices heard on Tuesday evening at the Watauga County Commissioners’ meeting.
The proposed changes would add an amendment to the ordinance that would address the construction of schools within the historical district. The ordinance that was first put into place in September of 1990 made no mention of school construction in Valle Crucis. In a previous meeting of the county commissioners on September 17, there was a proposal put forth by the board to amend the ordinance. After hearing so much public input Tuesday night, the discussions have been tabled until the next commissioners’ meeting on November 6.
This has become such a hot topic of discussion after a group of Valle Crucis residents and supporters raised concerns about the construction of a new Valle Crucis School. Currently, the county has a 14.4-acre parcel of land about a quarter of a mile from the current Valle Crucis School under contract for the construction of the new school. The property, most commonly known as the Hodges Property, is along Broadstone Road on the same road as the current school.
By amending the ordinance, the school building would not be subject to meeting certain standards in the community including the area of construction, the height of the building, placement of the building and zoning. The Watauga County Planning Board suggested that the amendment be approved and require a “Certificate of Appropriateness” for the construction of the new school.
However, on the other side of the issue, the Watauga Historic Preservation Commission voted to recommend that the amendment not be adopted.