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After Approval From US Army Corps of Engineers, NC Wildlife Resources Commission, Blanks Now Goes Before Boone Board of Adjustment For Culvert Extension

By Jesse Wood

June 3, 2013. This Thursday, the Boone Board of Adjustment will hear a presentation from Diane Blanks of Green Street regarding a culvert extension over a creek that is roughly six-inches wide and two-feet deep.  

Pictured is the unnamed stream in question that runs into Boone Creek.

After applying for permits and receiving approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, Blanks will take her case to the Board of Adjustment, where she seeks a variance to the Unified Development Ordinance for a 25-foot permanent stream buffer.

The current culvert is 10-foot long, and contractors plan to add an additional 15 feet of culvert along the same ditch line. 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved the project after Dave McHenry, a mountain region coordinator for the Habitat Conservation Program with NCWRC, wrote that the stream on Blanks’ property is too small for fish, according to packet information provided for the upcoming meeting. 

McHenry also noted that construction work to the stream, which is a tributary to Boone Creek “should have minimal effect on trout habitat and therefore does not need to be avoided during the trout spawning season.”

According to a letter that she wrote to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Blanks is extending the culvert to make her home more accessible. Her current driveway is too steep for her to back her car down, and with nowhere to turn around, she said can’t drive down her driveway head on. 

This has led her to park her car at the top of the hill. Blanks, who is 67 years old, lugs her groceries down the hill and hauls her trash up the hill. If the items are very heavy, she uses a wheelbarrow. 

“The mailman requested that I attach a clean trashcan to my mailbox so that he can put packages there, in lieu of coming down the hill. In snowy weather, I wear ice walkers and drag my groceries down the hill in a garbage bag,” Blanks wrote. “These remedies, however, are not long-term solutions … There will come a day when I cannot walk up and down the hill with any ease.”

More than 50 years ago, Blanks’ mother had the original culvert installed.  

“It has never caused any problems whatsoever. In fact, during recent heavy rains, when many areas of Boone experienced severe flooding, there were absolutely no problems here regarding the creek or the culvert,” Blanks wrote. 

The house, which is located at 357 Green Street, has been in her family for more than 80 years. She noted that to continue living in her family home, which is her desire, she has to improve access to your home. 

The meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 6, at the Boone Town Council Chambers on Blowing Rock Road. 

Also on Thursday’s agenda: 

  • Frank Wilson, on behalf of Ethel K. Beckham Trust, is appealing a UDO violation notice issued for failed drainage and a storm water management system on N.C. 105 South next to Super 8 Motel.
  • Friendship Honda is appealing staff’s decision that the Board of Adjustment granted the applicant five signs total for the variance granted on November 1, 2012. The applicant contends that High Country Honda (Friendship Honda) was granted five signs in addition to two existing signs which were not part of new construction.