Council seeks staff report on stormwater issues
by Anna Oakes
The town of Boone's stormwater management issues have been mentioned as a priority by several candidates in local elections, and on Thursday the Boone Town Council took action to begin studying the issue.
The council voted 4-1 to request that town staff present a report in January on the current status of the town's stormwater facilities and what other communities have done to address stormwater problems. The vote followed a recommendation by Councilman Rennie Brantz to form a Stormwater Management Task Force, but council members said they wanted to hear from staff before forming such a group.
"Boone has experienced several flooding events recently, which highlight the need to revisit our stormwater management," Brantz wrote in meeting materials.
Many businesses along Boone Creek -- which runs parallel to U.S. 321 from Rivers Street to its confluence with Winkler's Creek just past Meadowview Drive -- experience flooding when stormwater facilities become overwhelmed in rain events.
Brantz said he envisioned a task force with five to seven community members that would meet over a period of five months. But other council members expressed concerns that the issue was too complicated and technical for a community task force to handle on its own.
"I don't favor a committee at all. It is so incredibly complex and technical," said Councilwoman Jamie Leigh.
"I think staff should lay some of the groundwork first," added Councilwoman Lynne Mason. "Citizen input becomes important as we look at how we address it."
Councilman Andy Ball suggested that the council revisit the formation of a task force or ways to incorporate community input after receiving staff's report in January.
In other action, the council:
• approved a new taxi service, High Country Taxi.
• approved a recommendation to incorporate the Story Walk program along the Greenway Trail in cooperation with the Watauga County Public Library.
• approved a special event
permit for the Model T Ford Club International Tour and Car Show, including a
waiver of the $1,500 event fee. The event is scheduled for July 13 to 18, 2014.