March 8, 2012. Have you seen this guy protesting on N.C. 105 in Boone with a sign that states “Boycott Marriott?” Well, his name is Allan White. See the video below and article that follows.
Since the Courtyard by Marriott opened in January, White, a Boone native, frequently paces the sidewalk in front of the hotel to bring attention to what he calls “reprehensible” and an “injustice” to residents of the Wintergreen Lane neighborhood.
White’s mom owns two homes and lives in the neighborhood, which sits behind the hotel and is accessed from Faculty Street and Highland Avenue. In 2008, several citizens including the White family were concerned with the hotel property rezoning approvals, which the Boone Town Council voted to rezone CDB-3 (conditional district general business) from split B-3 (general business) and R-1 (single-family residential), and the eventual modification of the Conditional District Zoning Map in 2010.
“The neighborhood objected of course, but hotel representatives and Boone town officials were determined to go through with this project,” White said, adding that the hotel was too big for its location. Instead of building it adjacent to the neighborhood, it was built “into our neighborhood,” he said.
Wintergreen Lane residents listed nearly 20 requests for the developers of the hotel to consider – and for the most part the developers did – such as limiting noise and light pollution, not maintaining a sports bar, no dumping and deliveries during the middle of the night, building a flat gray roof, restoring an earthen mound and so on. (Listen to the video accompanying this article to hear White objecting to purported violations.)
Of all of White’s objections to the hotel, the one that frustrates him the most today and causes him to protest along the highway is the proposed staggered vegetated buffer. In media reports in 2008, Jim Deal, the attorney representing the project, said developers would create a two-row buffer, although residents requested a three-row buffer. According to Boone Town Council meeting minutes, the developer agreed that those trees would be 15 feet tall, although residents requested them to be 25 foot tall.
“The worst part is the third and fourth floor windows now have a clear unbuffered in to the homes,” White said. “We think this reprehensible.”
Looking from Mrs. White’s house, the hotel is clearly visible in between the single row of trees which have plenty of space in between them and differ vastly from the computer-animated view that developers presented to White before construction. (See video.) Last September, Deal told the Boone Town Council that the trees were planted apart from each other because they would grow larger and would eventually close the visual gaps.
Still, White isn’t satisfied. “All they would have to do is remove [the trees] … and bring in some taller sized trees required by law,” White said, adding that because he can’t get any justice from the Town of Boone and the Courtyard by Marriott, he is walking the streets to drum up support.
When asked about White, Ben McKethan, the general manager of the hotel, said “we have done everything the Town of Boone has required us to do in order to open the hotel in Boone, regarding zoning permits and regulations.”
McKethan added, “We did everything to their specs. When someone asks me about it, I kind of refer them back to the Town of Boone about permitting and enforcement. He may have an issue with how they told us to do it.”
If you want to know more, call White’s cell at (828) 406-9544. He’d be glad to fill you in.
Video by Ken Ketchie.