BOA approves land disturbance for proposed Café Portofinos demolition


Ethan Hunt

Café Portofinos on River Street, Jan. 31, 2022.

Georgia Dixon and Megan Pettey

The Boone Board of Adjustment approved the first step in redeveloping Café Portofinos Feb. 3. 

While the property demolition remains unauthorized, the BOA gave River Street Ventures LLC temporary license to disturb the creek running underneath the Café Portofino’s building. Before the town can approve construction on the site, safe stream access is necessary for demolition. 

River Street Ventures LLC needs approval from the Boone Town Council and Historic Preservation Committee before building demolition can begin on Café Portofinos. 

Plans include creating a 10-foot buffer to protect the stream during construction. The process also includes daylighting the stream, which will remove obstructions and help restore the stream to more natural conditions. 

The proposed commercial building will leave a smaller environmental footprint on the property and surrounding area compared to the existing one. Structural engineer Laurence Lindsey wrote the building, constructed nearly 40 years ago, is considered structurally unsound. 

“The exterior of the building is dilapidated, crumbling at some locations and exterior finished, and quality of materials are poor,” Lindsey wrote in an affidavit Jan. 24. 

Carrie Caviness, a consulting environmental engineer with River Street Ventures LLC said the earliest construction could begin April 15; however, demolition could be delayed by up to a year since the building is in a historic district.

“It’s actually in the NC general statutes, that if a building is in a historic district, the demolition can be delayed up to 365 days,” said Christy Turner, senior planner of the Town of Boone Planning and Inspections.