Turner Law office

The county plans to remove this building at 136 N. Water St. to provide additional parking for courthouse facilities.

BOONE — Watauga County wants to remove an old law office building to make room for more courthouse parking on Water Street, but the Boone Town Council is asking the county to reconsider, calling it “a historic structure.”

The county purchased a former law office and apartment building at 136 N. Water St. in Boone from Professional Holdings LLC for $755,000 on Nov. 29, 2018, according to county property records. The structures on the property, which is located across from the Watauga County Administration Building, were built in 1925 and 1953, according to county records.

The Watauga County Commissioners voted on Dec. 3 to appropriate $752,041 from the county’s fund balance for the purchase. County Manager Deron Geouque said the county plans to utilize the property for parking for courthouse facilities.

But the Boone Town Council discussed the purchase at its Dec. 18 meeting, expressing interest because the building, the former Turner Law Office, is within an area being inventoried by the Boone Historic Preservation Commission for designation by the state of North Carolina as a local historic district.

“I’m very concerned about it,” Boone Town Council Member Sam Furgiuele said at the meeting. “I think we should take a position against that.”

The council voted unanimously to request that the commissioners reconsider the decision.

“The entire town council strongly feels that it is not in the best interest of the town of Boone or Watauga County to utilize the site of this historic home, in the county seat, only for parking,” a Jan. 3 letter from Boone Mayor Rennie Brantz to the Watauga County Commissioners stated. “Adjacent parking for the Watauga County Courthouse and other county offices is currently provided to Watauga County, free of charge by the town of Boone. In addition, citizens who are summoned for court duty are provided a pass to park in any town of Boone-owned parking lot during their service to our community.

“We offer to work with you to find a coordinated solution where Watauga County and the town of Boone can ensure the protection of our historic resources while addressing parking needs,” the letter concluded.

(6) comments

Roadking

The TOB is getting rather comfortable at telling people what they can and cannot do with their own property. This should be interesting to watch play out. I dont see a need for any parking deck for the County Courthouse and if the Town decides to get in on it the location is actually a bit far to park and roam downtown. Hey take one of Apple Cart's 10 new buses at 4.375 million dollars. Or better yet just walk on the sidewalk to either location since our previous Mayor proclaimed us a "Walking Town". Even if it is 13 degrees and 31 mph winds.

Billy Norris

Well, this is rich. Along with the county commissioners, the town council can spend tons of money on things like this, but when it comes to education, affordable housing, and roads, they conveniently forget.

Hubris

The lot is roughly 110 feet by 120 feet. Assuming standard 9 x 18 foot spaces and a 24 foot aisle, you're looking at what, 24 parking spaces? Let's be generous and call it 30. All for $755,000 in taxpayer money. That's just a little north of $25,000 per parking space. Is it me, or does that seem kinda high?

EthanBeverage4Us

Maybe instead of preserving so called "historic sites" we should use the land to benefit the Town of Boone. Truly what does this moronic Town Council need with more "historic" buildings. If I am not mistaken the council elections last year, was full of things like affordable housing, parking, and the massive flooding issue. Mind you, not a single one of these issues has been worked through. Instead the town wants to already limit the amount of land we have available for idiotic preservation programs (which is causing housing prices to go up, hmm?) and spend massive amount of money on pointless things. We will never grow as a town if this is the way our council thinks.

Deborah Greene

This is not the place for a parking deck. I am strongly in favor preserving the historical district. There is a parking lot where the old jail used to be or adjacent to the courthouse. Both of tjise could accomodate a parking garage. The county and town should be able to com to some sort of agreement on a 2 story parking garage in that area. Or the courthouse could be relocated to the Social Services Building making it the justice center. Move everything else to courthouse.

billspizza2016@gmail.com

they should build at least a 2 story parking deck on that site. It is very much needed.

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