You probably won't recall that back in November the Boone Town Council passed sweeping new rules that allow "planned developments" in any neighborhood (after a 2-2 tie was broken by acting Mayor Rennie Brantz).
The first "planned development" to come under the new rules: the development of the old Southern States property at the end of Faculty Street (now known as Rivers Street). The developers want a 50'-tall building containing 350 bedrooms which will rent at $700 a bedroom. Best part: the developers plan to provide only 150 parking spaces, all of which will be leased and will not be provided as a part of the rent. Dumpsters for the complex will be placed right on Water Street in full view of people driving down Howard St.
The new rules required a "neighborhood meeting" between adjacent property owners and the developer. Since no one else is invited, nor informed, only five adjacent property owners showed up last Thursday evening to hear about this development. No one from Boone's Planning and Inspections Department bothered to show up, because under the new rules, they don't have to. It's up to the developer to report any neighborhood concerns to the Zoning Administrator. And, O my children, the developer does not have to accept any of the suggestions/criticisms/cries of alarm. The Town Council has the final say.
The new rules allow developers to avoid Boone's existing minimal development standards by bypassing the town's Board of Adjustments altogether. Neighborhoods no longer have the right to appeal approvals through a court of law. Neighbors only get to express their frustrations to both the developer and Town Council members in hopes that sanity might prevail. Best of all (for the specter of corruption, collusion, and cronyism), both the developer and the Council are now allowed to meet with each other without public knowledge.
This is what Town Council members Lynne Mason and Quint David and Rennie Brantz chose for the future of Boone back in November. It stinks to high heaven.
The final approval of this now falls on the shoulders of new Town Council members Jen Teague, Charlotte Mizelle, and Jeannine Underdown Collins, who'll be called upon to vote for or against this development, along with Lynne Mason (who pushed the new rules to begin with) and Loretta Clawson (who opposed the new rules from the get-go).