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After Three Tries, First Baptist Church and Hospitality House Rezoning Request Approved by Council

Owners of these two properties - the vacant lot and the white house - have requested they be rezoned. Photo by Jesse Wood
Owners of the vacant lot and the white house are unsure of what will become of the properties. Photo by Jesse Wood

By Jesse Wood

Aug. 22, 2014. Third time’s a charm.

On Thursday night, the Boone Town Council unanimously – with little discussion – agreed to rezone property along King Street that is owned by the First Baptist Church and Hospitality House from B-2 neighborhood business to B-1 central business.

The Boone Area Planning Commission made a recommendation earlier in the year to approve the rezoning request by the church and nonprofit. This was the third such time that the commission has recommended that the Boone Town Council approve the request since 2010.

The properties amount to roughly a combined acre.
The properties amount to roughly a combined acre.

In 2010 and again in 2012, the Boone Town Council shot the request down. Council members and Mayor Loretta Clawson, in previous years, feared the parcels could become a parking area or parking deck and had concerns about buffering between the Wallace Circle neighborhood and whatever would be developed if rezoned.

During meetings in the past on this issue, Boone Planning Director Bill Bailey told council that B-1 central business zoning would allow for more height in future development, more flexibility in table of permissible uses and allow for more density than the B-2 neighborhood business zone.

This time around, though, none of the council members who voted against the measure in the past are on the council. Councilwoman Lynne Mason, had recused herself from the two prior votes, because she was executive director of the Hospitality House. She retired from that position this summer.

Mason said approving this rezoning would be consistent with the town’s visioning plans and would be part of the “extension of downtown.”

Councilman Rennie Brantz noted that he has “supported this request the last two times” and made a motion to approve the zoning request. The vote to approve the rezoning of the two parcels at 302 and 316 W. King Street was approved unanimously.

Both Hospitality House and First Baptist Church have said they are unsure what will happen with the property. While the First Baptist Church has said no plans are on the table yet, Hospitality House has said it is looking to sell or develop the property.

For more information, read a prior article.