Council denies water to 105 project
by Anna Oakes
The Boone Town Council on
Thursday unanimously voted to deny a request for a 56,550-gallons-per-day water allotment by a
Florida-based developer for a multi-family apartment complex off of the N.C. 105
Vestcor Communities planned a 377-bedroom
multi-family project — called “High Country Village” on a conceptual site plan
— at 115 Beverly Heights Ave. in Boone on a 14-acre tract currently owned by the G.H.
Winkler Family Limited Partnership.
Several council members stated they felt the project as designed was too dense for the location.
The property is currently used as a driving range operated by Mountaineer Golf
Portions of the tract are zoned B-3 General Business and
R-3 Multi-Family, as well as falling in the Viewshed Protection Area and highway Corridor
District. Tracts surrounding the property are zoned B-3 General Business, R-1 Single Family and R-3
Project engineer Jason Gaston of Valor
Engineering presented information about the project to the council. Gaston said if the water
allocation were approved, the next step would be to seek a special use permit before the Boone
Board of Adjustment.
Vestcor Communities President Will Morgan
also spoke to the council.
Morgan described the units as a
“luxury product” that “caters to young professionals, professors, medical
individuals, healthcare, young married couples with no kids, typically.”
Council members, as they have with past multi-family project requests, peppered
the applicant with questions about how the development would be marketed to the workforce and
whether some units could be designated as affordable housing.
According to the town’s definition, an affordable rental dwelling unit is
defined as a unit for which the rent is no more than 25 percent of the monthly area median income
for a family of four.
“We did not contemplate that in this
business model,” Morgan said, adding that he would be interested in developing affordable
housing at another site in Boone.
Several residents of the
nearby R-1 neighborhood spoke against the project.
biggest concern is traffic flow,” said Scott Warren of Beverly Heights Ave. “We cannot
handle the density that they’re proposing on this property.”
Kathryn Cornett of Olancha Avenue expressed doubts that the units would be homes
for young professionals, professors and medical employees.
“To me this is very sugar-coated student housing,” she
But Morgan disputed this opinion, asserting the project is
not structured as student housing, which are typically four-bedroom, four-bath apartments, rented
by the bedroom, with all-inclusive rent payments.
not the intent of this project,” he told the council.
Instead, the one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments will be rented by the apartment, he said.