Town approves one of three property re-zonings

The town approved rezoning of one property out of four requested by the university at Tuesday’s Town Council meeting.

The approved property, the Singing News building, off of State Farm Road, will be used for university offices, Vice Chancellor of External Affairs Susan McCracken said.

Appalachian has a building permit and will now begin renovating the building.

“We are pleased to use Singing News for office space,” McCracken said.

The council approved the motions to rezone the Singing News building property to a U1 zone since it is compliant with the town’s comprehensive plan that encourages reutilization of vacant buildings in appropriate locations, Mayor Pro-Tem Jamie Leigh said at the meeting.

The council passed a motion that the other proposed properties, off of University Drive, were not in compliance with the town’s comprehensive plan.

The university leases the approved property but owns the other three, McCracken said.

“I want to be a good partner with ASU and try to do something for them on the Singing News building and I think that’s important,” Leigh said at the meeting.

Leigh said she doesn’t have a problem with rezoning the parcel because of its size, which is less than an acre.

Councilmembers were concerned about the potential height of buildings on the other three properties.

“That’s not because I don’t want to work with ASU,” Leigh said. “But I think we need to be really careful. We’re the protectors of the town.”

Since there isn’t a rush on the other parcels, Leigh said she wants further discussion when the town has a better description of zones and their regulations and restrictions, she said.

“We have some work to do on our internal ordinances and we’re doing that work now,” Councilman Andy Ball said at the meeting.

Council hopes to have that work done by the first of the year, Ball said.

“I felt our request was reasonable,” McCracken said.

The request takes the town’s 2030 plan into account, works with revitalizing vacant property and protects height with the corridor and over shed overlays, McCracken said.

McCracken said two of the four properties are recognized as university property in the comprehensive plan.

 

Appalachian officials met with town officials in June and began a lease-purchase agreement with the intention to make it university office space, McCracken said.

The university approached the town when they realized its current zone, B3, would not permit office space for the university, she said.

The Boone Area Planning Commission is reviewing what the zoning areas will be and what their permitted uses will be, McCracken said.

Story: KELLI STRAKA, News Editor