To: Members of the Blowing Rock Planning Board
From: The Blowing Rock Civic Association Development Evaluation Committee in behalf of The Blowing
Rock Civic Association
Subject: Grand Dakota Development, LLC Request for Conditional Rezoning of Former Cheeseburgers in Paradise Property bound by Highway 221, Morningside Drive, and Rainey Street in Downtown Blowing Rock
Date: December 21, 2017
The Committee met at the Town Planning Office with Planning Director Kevin Rothrock to review the subject multi-family development. Members also attended the community meeting on this project. The proposed “For Sale” townhouse development is planned for a .905 acre tract of land.
The proposal calls for twelve (12) two and three bedroom townhouses that will be available for short term rentals on a property that previously held a restaurant and two single family dwellings.
The committee notes the following concerns for your consideration :
1. The property is zoned for slightly less than five units. The proposed plan is for building of twelve units on the property a 166% increase in building density.
2. The proposed plan is for exceeding the building height limit of 30 feet in the Town code by up to
5′. These 35′ high buildings would exceed the current limit by 16.7%.
3. Town code according to Mr. Rothrock requires that the development have 30 parking spaces provided by the developer. To reach the required 30 spaces the developer is providing a one space garage for each unit plus a 19′ long driveway space for each unit. Additionally the plan includes use of seven town owned parking spaces on Rainey Street to meet and exceed the 30 required parking spaces. A GMC suburban is 18.7′ in length without a trailer hitch.
4. The interior streets meet town code at 21′ and 24′ in width but it will need to be determined if garbage trucks, fire trucks and ambulances can navigate and effectively provide services within this configuration. The ability to promptly provide emergency services to these units is particularly important. It should be determined if some vehicles will have to back out and turn around in order to enter or exit the project.
The committee asks the Planning Board to consider the following:
a. When looking at this project from the street do the extraordinary height and elevation of these buildings appear to be out of scale to existing buildings? Is this detrimental to the “village” character of downtown?
b. Is the extraordinary density of this project compatible with the “village” character of downtown?
c. Will the developer compensate the town for use of public parking for this project? What will be
the overall impact of this project on downtown public parking?
d. By granting the substantial variances requested by the developer will the town set precedents for other developments? What would be the impact of those precedents?
Summary: BRCA has six serious concerns:
Density: From 5 units to 13.3 dwellings per the site. 166% increase from the current zoning
Parking: Will any of the parking places on Rainey be on the town right of way? If so, who will own the parking spaces?
Height: Petitioner wants to go from 30′, as per the code, to not more than 3 5 ‘.
Scale: Is the project out of proportion to the surrounding neighborhood?
Town code: Is the developer asking for a liberal interpretation of the code?
Precedence: Is the town ready to grant similar variances to future petitioners?