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Originally published: 2013-02-18 12:00:17
Last modified: 2013-02-18 12:00:17

Multi-family standards on council agenda

by Anna Oakes

The Boone Town Council is scheduled to consider adoption of new supplemental standards for multi-family uses -- an amendment to the Unified Development Ordinance -- at its regular meeting Tuesday.

The council meets at 6:30 p.m. at the Council Chambers, located at 1500 Blowing Rock Road.

The standards, presented to the council in December by the Affordable Housing Task Force and discussed at a public hearing earlier this month, would require garages or 50 square feet of storage space, a .5 livability space (outdoor living, landscaped areas) ratio and a master bedroom at least 25 percent larger than other bedrooms.

The amendment would also mandate a mix of unit sizes in each new multi-family project, restrict bedroom-to-bathroom ratios, restrict building height to three stories and limit parking to two spaces per unit with a designated visitor parking area.

The proposed standards mandate that no more than two unrelated persons can reside in each unit.

As written, the proposed regulations would apply to all new multi-family projects in all zoning districts in the town's jurisdiction except for multi-family units that are part of a mixed-use building under UDO Section 179.

The Boone Planning Commission recommended approval of the standards by a split vote of 5-4 last week.

Watauga County commissioners Chairman Nathan Miller spoke against the proposal at the public hearing and last week sent a letter to the mayor and council further outlining opposition to the standards.

Miller asserts that adoption of the standards would kill the county's pending sale of the old Watauga High School property to developer Templeton Properties because "student housing is an essential component of the $18,948,000 offer."

"It is the county's belief the proposed amendment, as currently written, does not accomplish the goal of the town to create affordable housing," Miller wrote. "The town has the ability to utilize incentives to promote affordable housing. The county encourages the town to seek input not only from the Affordable Housing Task Force but the town's Planning Board and staff, the county's Community Housing Trust, property owners and builders on suggestions and solutions to the affordable housing issue."

The council will continue a discussion of changes to its booting ordinance it began at the January meeting. The proposed changes relate primarily to signage and identification of parking attendants.

At the Thursday, Feb. 21, continuation of the regular meeting, guest speakers will ask the council to pass resolutions opposing the death penalty in North Carolina and supporting the Meatless Monday movement.