Thursday, April 21, 2016

Boone Town Council Does Not Approve High-Rise Student Housing in Downtown But Also Does Not Reject It

Go figure.

At their regular monthly meeting this evening, the Boone Town Council didn't have much good to say about the proposed Rivers Walk development at the corner of Rivers Street and Water Street. Too huge. Too "rent-by-the-bedroom" and aimed at students. Too out of character with the rest of downtown Boone. Too little parking. Too big a building, which will run for over 700 linear feet next to two-lane Poplar Grove Rd. and tower over it, creating a kind of experiential "tunnel."

Yet, on the motion of Councilwoman Loretta Clawson, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Lynne Mason, to reject the proposal, only Clawson voted in the affirmative. Even Lynne Mason would not vote for the motion she seconded.

Then what? It's frankly unclear, but the bottom-line is that the Council majority couldn't bring itself to say no. There'll be more meetings between the developers, their lawyer Jim Deal, and the Council, or between the developers, their lawyer Jim Deal, the Council, and the Planning Commission (which last week voted in favor of the project with provisions that town attorney Allison Meade said this evening were unenforceable).

Negotiation with the developer, we guess. Interesting concept in this context ... negotiation. Especially considering that the out-of-town owner of that property shouted out in the meeting, when it was clear he wasn't going to get an affirmative vote, "We're trying to negotiate with you, but you don't know how to negotiate!"

I'd have to agree with that assessment.

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