BOONE — A review of R3 and R4 properties in the town of Boone is ongoing as the Boone Town Council considers potential rezoning of more than 200 parcels to different residential zoning districts, including a proposed R1-S Small Home Residential District.
Under the town’s Unified Development Ordinance, the R3 Multiple-Family Residential District is defined as “a high-density area consisting of three or more dwelling units per lot plus limited service use.” The R4 Two-Family/Manufactured Home District is defined as “a medium-density area consisting of two-family uses, and manufactured homes on single lots.”
Boone Town Council Member Sam Furgiuele proposed a review of all R3 and R4 properties that had not been developed for multi-family and their surrounding uses at the Jan. 8, 2018, planning retreat — a meeting of the Boone Town Council and town Planning & Inspections Department staff. At the same meeting, he also proposed the creation of a new zoning district for cottage housing and tiny homes, which could be used as a transition between high- and low-density areas and would provide more diverse and affordable housing.
Planning & Inspections Department staff began presenting the requested information in December 2018, with presentations on properties that are zoned R3 and R4 properties that are undeveloped or developed with less than $100,000 in building value; properties zoned R3 that have been developed with a commercial use; and properties zoned R3 that have been developed with single-family residential uses.
At that meeting, council members agreed to review the parcels in groups based on geography. According to the meeting minutes, Mayor Rennie Brentz asked about the rezoning practices of other towns, and Planning & Inspections Director Jane Shook confirmed that many towns go through mandatory rezonings.
Council Member Lynne Mason suggested that the council rezone certain properties that could accommodate cluster cottage housing or a townhouse community that would be more compatible with lower density housing nearby, the minutes stated.
The council and staff have held several additional meetings throughout 2019 to review the parcels.
Speaking at an Aug. 2 special meeting, Furgiuele said he hoped the council could hold a public hearing on the rezonings and take action before a new council was seated in December due to the time it would take to bring new council members up to speed. Two of the three council members with seats up for re-election this November are not seeking re-election.
But at the Sept. 19 regular council meeting, council members and staff agreed that timeframe would not be realistic in light of other staff work priorities.
They agreed on a tentative timeline that would include complete final presentation of proposed mapping changes by Oct. 31, town attorney review in November, presentation to the council and Boone Planning Commission in December 2019 and January 2020, public information sessions in February, public hearings in March and final decisions in April. However, Shook indicated the schedule could be adjusted after the new year.
“There are 235 parcels at this time that we’ve identified that would be included in this project,” Shook said on Sept. 19.
Boone Town Manager John Ward expressed concerns about potential litigation and the unknown impacts on the town’s budget.
“Of all the projects you have before you on Jane’s list, this is the one with the biggest unknowns,” Ward said. “This is the one that worries me the most, to have the vision to budget for litigation due to the loss in value of down-zoning.”
Council members also agreed on Sept. 19 to move forward with the development of the new R1-S Small Home Residential District. Draft language for the new district describes it as “a medium-density living area consisting of detached single-family dwellings at a slightly higher density than other residential zoning districts. The regulations for this district are intended to maintain the essential character of traditional single-family neighborhoods while allowing for new single-family dwellings at a higher density which then will serve as a comfortable, healthy, safe, aesthetically pleasing and pleasant medium-density residential transition to medium- to high-density residential and nonresidential districts.”
The council has also discussed the creation of a new use that would allow smaller homes, perhaps allowing clustering, within existing residential zoning districts, but no timeframe has been identified for this proposal, Shook said last month.
The process could also result in the elimination of the R4 zoning district.
“Upon review of the R4 Two-Family/Manufactured Home zoning district, including district standards, allowable uses within the district and the location details of the only R4 Two-Family/Manufactured Home District within the corporate limits, council is considering the removal of the district because the neighborhoods within the R4 area and the residential neighborhoods surrounding the R4 area may be better protected by being zoned with a different existing residential zoning district that exists in the area,” Shook said last month.
At the council’s Aug. 15 meeting, the board voted unanimously to endorse the creation of a new senior housing zoning district after the developer of the Kensington Gate Condominiums, a senior living development, expressed concerns about impacts on the final building in his project due to the town’s new height restrictions.
Council members have also discussed a future review of parcels zoned RA Residential/Agricultural District.