This blog,originally founded by Blogger, who is listed in Marquis Who's Who and is a recipient of the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. He holds a theological degree and a doctorate in Counseling Psychology. Taught Psychology for 32 years and is now Professor Emeritus. Is a board-certified psychologist and was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in his profession. Ministered as a chaplain, and pastored Baptist and Episcopal churches. Publications cover the integration of psychology and theology. Served in the Army, the Merchant Marines and the Peace Corps.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Old Watauga High School....Templeton says he will withdraw offer!....

Ltr from Templeton Properties to Watauga County


To: Nathan Miller, Chairman, Watauga County Commissioners
        Deron Geouque, Watauga County Manager
        Members of the Boone Town Council
        Citizens of Boone and Watauga County
From: Phil Templeton, Templeton Properties, LP

If properly developed, the former WHS property holds great promise for benefitting the residents of Boone and Watauga County.  However, few developers are likely to risk such an investment given the politics, policies and the new and impractical regulations to be dealt with in Boone’s current permit application process.
As stated several weeks ago, Templeton Properties’ development plans for the former WHS property
included businesses such as a hotel, an Olive Garden, a Target or Stein Mart, a multi-screen theater, retail shops and a significant number of student apartments far removed from residential areas.   The idea of a private/public partnership to provide a YMCA to serve the citizens of our area (especially the youth) was also being considered.
Contrary to the misrepresentations contained in a recent letter to Boone residents regarding the new multi-family regulations recently adopted by the town council, purportedly written by Loretta Clawson, the new regulations create an undeniably negative effect on the development of the former WHS property as well as many other properties in Boone and the ETJ.
Before the new regulations were adopted it was contemplated that Templeton Properties, as well as other bidders for the property, would develop apartments as the first phase of the project or, perhaps, in tandem with the development of portions of the commercial space.  Under the new regulations, a builder will not have the freedom to develop the apartments or commercial phases as necessary to meet the market demand.  This faulty regulation could spell doom for a project that could otherwise have been successful.
The new regulations require that no more than one third of the housing in a B-3 mixed-use project be built until ALL of the commercial portion is completed, UNLESS, the developer provides “financial commitments which will guarantee that all commercial parts of the development will be completed within the approved vesting period, not longer than five years from the date of approval”.   A developer must provide a letter of credit or bond payable to the Town of Boone equal to 125% of the estimated cost of the undeveloped commercial portion.  The amount of this bond or letter of credit could total several million dollars and prove to be unattainable in today’s economic climate.

Under the new regulations, mixed-use development in B-3 zones, which consists of residential units and commercial space, requires Conditional Zoning which must be approved by the town council.  In addition to the cost of the land, a developer could spend tens of thousands of dollars in plans, engineering, etc. and still be denied a development permit or be forced to accept unreasonable conditions which could be imposed by the town council or other boards before obtaining a permit.
Even before the latest regulations were adopted, the former WHS property and the properties of many other citizens were already subject to a multitude of regulations including the Steep Slope and Viewshed regulations which have devalued many properties in Boone and the ETJ.  Most everyone will recall that these two regulations were adopted by the town council despite the fact that regulations were already in place to safeguard against development on steep slopes and despite the overwhelming opposition from more than 400 property owners who attended the public hearing to express their disapproval.
It’s clear that adopting the new regulations which unreasonably restrict multi-family development was a mistake.  Regardless of the intent, they serve no legitimate purpose, do absolutely nothing to advance affordable housing for the work force and simply add more to Boone’s excessive bureaucracy.  Plainly stated, the new regulations should be rescinded.  They will result in less, not more, housing being built and, as a consequence, housing prices and rental rates will rise.   The Boone Town Council should not waste another opportunity to demonstrate independent thinking and common sense leadership.
Since the issues described above are not likely to be resolved anytime soon, it is my intention to withdraw Templeton Properties’ offer for the former WHS property by the end of the Inspection Period.   It is hoped that civil discourse and cooperation will prevail and that our town and county leaders will work together to abolish the many unreasonable regulations which limit and complicate business activity which is so vital to our community.  This will help to ensure that, at some point, the former WHS property will sell for the highest possible price and be developed to its highest and best use for the good of all the citizens of Boone and Watauga County.





37 comments:

NewGuy said...

I wonder if the town would have moved so quickly to place their UDO into effect if it had been someone OTHER than Templeton Properties as the intended buyer?

Nobody said...

New Guy,
I've suspected from the start that these regulations were passed with the intent of forcing Templeton off of the property. Politics by vendetta and grudge. Now, if they "revisit" the issue and rescind these regulations, I hope Templeton sues the town's pants off for discrimination. BTW, I love the fact that now, after refusing to give Nathan Miller the time of day, they are begging for a courtesy regarding the sales taxes that they refused to show over these regulations.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter how they try to spin it, this is a direct result Boone's inept town council and their Coven of Democrats who think they know what's best for everybody!

Anonymous said...

New Guy, the letter doesn't say he cancelled the sale, it says he intends to. It can still be saved.

Does anyone know if the mayor has actually responded to the county's suggested meeting dates? Or did she just write to the news media?

NewGuy said...

Nobody - even if they were to rescind these regulations now, what assurances would Templeton have that they wouldn't reinstate them - or create even worse ones - between the time he bought the property and submitted building plans.

The property he had where he intended to put a medical office on was properly zoned for just that. But, once he moved forward with plans, permits, etc - they decided to change the rules to prevent him from building there.

As long as these clowns are running town government, I don't see much chance for progress in Boone!

NewGuy said...

Anon 5:38...You are correct, thank you for pointing this out. I've changed the "headline".

Anonymous said...

What am I missing here? Mr. Templeton's letter says he hopes that everyone will work it out so that "the former WHS property will sell for the highest possible price." I'm confused by that. When you met with the listing agent to buy your house, did you say to him or her, "Nice to meet you. Before we look over the property, I just want you to know that I'm looking to pay the highest possible price for the house you're listing, and I hope we can work that out." Any chance when you bought your last car you told the salesman the figure he quoted you didn't seem high enough...because you you wanted to pay the highest possible price for that minivan?

The fact that Mr. Templeton is a particularly astute businessman is an almost universally accepted fact. So, which is true? 1) He intends to use the current situation to devalue the property he is intent on developing, come back later and buy it at a much lower price, while simultaneously reaping the political benefits. 2) He hopes to pay "the highest possible price" because he's a public-minded, community-benefactor type, and he doesn't care if it impacts his bottom line.

I'd assert that Option 1 is the particularly astute one. Again, am I missing something?

Anonymous said...

"Again, am I missing something?"


Reading comprehension, common sense and a basic understanding of the issues.

Rick said...

The way I read the tea leaves, the Town has already accepted that it will lose the $2 million. As I've said before, the sales tax issue and the sale of the HS property should never have been tied together. The Town and County are both now in a terrible position. The Town cannot allow itself to be held hostage with the sales tax and the County cannot back away from it's threat. I found Mr. Templeton's letter interesting and found myself wondering at the end why he has not presented a plan to the Town. I think all of this is just politics and we will all suffer for it.

guy faulkes said...

What I think you are missing is that the highest possible price will be no where near what Templeton offered if these regulations stay in place. The next buyer (or Mr. Templeton if he decides to bid again) will get it much cheaper. No investor is going to spend this kind of money with these rules in place.

You cannot blame anyone for not continuing with a deal sure to lose money. The change of horses in midstream caused by the Town creates the problem, not Templeton.

In shooting itself in the foot, the Town also shot the county in the leg.

NewGuy said...

Once Templeton calculates that he can not profitably develop the property under the requirements put in place by the Boone Town Council, there wouldn't be any point in him submitting any plans.

We don't know how much time, effort and expense he has already incurred on this project. Perhaps he has reached the point that he has concluded that it doesn't make sense to proceed under the new requirements. If so, why would he spend more money on further plans?



Rick said...

The only new requirement for Templeton was to present some kind of assurance that he would build the commercial portion. I have gone back and read and read the ordinance, it does not require a huge bunch of money up front, it requires some assurance. The county should go to the other bidders on the property.

Anonymous said...

Turn the school property into a park for the public good.

Anonymous said...

Great idea, Anon. The taxpayers of this county need another park....especially a $20,million park. Why don't you buy it and donate it to the town?

guy faulkes said...

It apparently requires a performance bond,which is an added expense which is not unsubstantial.

Who knows what will be required? The Town makes up its rules and changes them as it goes along.

It takes a brave man, a fool or a combination of both to try to develop in Boone.

Anonymous said...

The county already owns the property. Which county parks do you speak of that the county already owns?

Anonymous said...

I guess that the county owns all of the county parks or they would not be county parks. What's that got to do with needing to sell the old high school land to help pay off the new one like was promised?

Anonymous said...

There are no county public greenspace parks of any consequence. WHS property would be convenient, accessible to all and add to the value of the community. Of course, another eyesore apartment complex and big box retail is an option too.

Allan said...

Something fishy is going on. Why would Nathan Miller go and negotiate a deal with the three other towns on behalf of the county when there has been no public hearing on this, no discussion on this in any county commissioner meeting, no votes ever taken by the commissioners in support of this, and when it involves some really serious re-allocation of funds throughout the county. Shouldn't the people have been allowed to weigh in on this before one commissioner went about cutting deals with the other towns on behalf of all of us? Were the other commissioners involved in this decision at all? I have been willing to listen to the county's side in all this and I don't know if the sales tax should be distributed another way or not but this latest action seems highly illegal and unethical to me.

Jerry said...

Phil Templeton is making a fool out of Pam W over at the comments section of the Wat Dem website. Not that Pam needs any help, but it is fun to watch.

Jerry said...

I mean Jeff Templeton as the one making a fool of Pam Williamson. Why is Pam speaking for the town anyway? How can she be offering assurances that the town will work with the Templetons?

Pam and her group have made their beds. It's time to lay in them.

guy faulkes said...

What is fishy/ The county does not have to deal with any municipality as to how it distributes sales tax revenues as per state law. Nor does it have to hold any kind of public hearing, to the best of my knowledge. Doing so is a courtesy.

The fact negotiations were being held was reported by the media. Apparently Boone and Allen thought Boone was the only municipality that deserved to be involved in negotiations.

It is to Miller's credit that he spoke with the three municipalities before the change, but as I have stated before, all the county had to do was cut funding for municipal projects and the same result would occur.

By talking with theses municipalities, miller has dealt in good faith.

Allan said...

If anyone has any connection to the Watauga Watch Blog, could you find out how come all the posts favoring Pam W's position get posted but the posts, such as mine, which oppose her, seem to never appear?

It makes it look like everyone opposes the county on the sales tax issue. I have posted 3 times in favor of the county's position and not one has been posted!

Nobody said...

An opposing viewpoint is not allowed on Watauga Watch. I used to post there years ago -- no more. Very few people visit that site and post anymore because of the lack of true debate. Liberals have a hard time debating on facts so its best simply to not allow posts that undermine their propaganda.

Doug said...

Allan,

Nobody is correct – Watauga Watch’s administrator scrubs all comments that do not support Liberal positions.

Knowing my comments will not see the light of day on Watauga Watch, I copy and paste everything to this blog for “insurance” purposes. You may want to consider doing the same. Watauga Conservative’s administrators have no problem with free speech.

Fun fact for the day: Watauga Watch is run by Pam Williamson’s husband.

Blogger said...

Many liberals don't debate as they see it as unnecessary. They actually are convinced that their positions are so self-evidently true, that only a Troglodyte would not see it the same as they do.

Happily Married said...

Blogger, since we are generalizing as to the actions of liberals not debating, could you please explain Mr. Miller's not even discussing the county's actions with the other commissioners. Does he not think that he is so right as to not be bothered with what they think. Is not your statement just as applicable to Mr. Miller and, therefore, conservatives? Hypocrites.

Nobody said...

So, HM, I take it from your last post you are now abandoning your claims to being an impartial, rational moderate? Like there was ever any question you are anything other than a liberal...

Happily Married said...

Nobody -

Me pointing out the hypocrisy of one group does not align me to the other. There is no denying that it is hypocritical to admonish liberals for not wanting to debate because they think they are always right and then for Mr. Miller to take such drastic actions on behalf of the county without even the first discussion with the minority faction of the county commissioners. I did not say one was right and one was wrong. I said you are hypocrites - period. When I see you indicate that maybe Mr. Miller should have had the discussion with the entire county commission before even approaching the other towns I will rescind my statement - until then you are hypocrites for saying liberals do not want debate. Good governance would have meant an open and full discussion with the entire county commissioners prior to approaching the other towns. Chairman Miller has earned his "bully" moniker.

NewGuy said...

Happy, no action by the county commission has yet been taken. They have the topic on the agenda for tonight's meeting.

Miller has every right to canvas others about their positions prior to bringing the matter to a BOC meeting. It seems you want to compare his individual discussions with stakeholders and constituents to those of the Town of Boone who holds secret meetings and makes town decisions outside of the public view.

Miller is only one vote. He can't make any decision on sales tax distribution except to bring the matter up for a vote of the county commissioners - including Welch and Kennedy.

Kennedy will, in spite of the fact that he is the representative of the Brushy Fork, Beaver Dam and Cove Creek precincts, vote to support the Town of Boone interests.

There MAY be hope for Welch, but it's doubtful. Welch has pretty consistently voted the straight party line.

Happily Married said...

New Guy, You are so adamant that your party partners can do no wrong that you are blind. The following actions have been taken:
1) Nathan Miller without consulting the entire county commission, approached the other towns in enough of a manner to constitute an agreement that the other towns have all voted on it. How could he have done that without any ACTION? How did he approach the other towns without first having a vetted agreement from all of the commissioners?

Nobody said...

HM,
The problem for you is, I was discussing the censorship on the other website, not Miller's actions. Conservative posts don't make it past Williamson over there. The fact that New Guy and Blogger consistently upload your posts demonstrates my point. Think how boring and monotonous it must have been for them to upload every one of your interminable posts on, dare I mention it?, gay marriage. THAT's the difference. Your charge of hypocrisy rings hollow. Learn a new word.

Nobody said...

"Good governance would have meant an open and full discussion..."

Tell this to the town council!

NewGuy said...

Blind? Happy, because you see things that aren't there doesn't mean that others are blind.

Miller has every right to approach anyone and everyone in gathering support for his position. Just as those that oppose him do. You seem to think that individual commissioners are somehow restricted from advocating their positions unless they first get approval from the other commissioners. Yet, at the same time, you don't recognize that a governing BODY is restricted from holding public meetings IN WHICH THEY TAKE OFFICIAL ACTIONS, pass legislation and determine policy!

Miller can't bind the county to change the sales tax distribution. Only a majority ofcommisioners, meeting in formal session, can do that. Seeking support and laying groundwork for a resolution one intends to introduce is not prohibited by law - and it is entirely ethical to do so.

The Town of Boone, on the other hand, seems to have an awful lot of "official" meetings behind closed doors - and you don't seem to have a problem with that.



Happily Married said...

Advocating their position and making deals that have enough substance to have a vote passed at the Town level are two different things. I do not agree when the Town of Boone has closed session meeting when they are not to - but Mr. Millers actions are bully tactics that spit in the face of democracy and the democratic process. He should have had the disucssion with his fellow commisioners prior to making deals with local towns. Having conversation is one thing. The towns VOTED ON IT and agreed to the proposal. What proposal? If the commissioners discussed a proposal - when did that occur. Mr. Miller was out of line - period. The town has been out of line as well. Your dogmatic support of Miller is politics at its worst. As long as he is in my party - I don't care how he goes about his business - what a cop out - He did not bolster support for a position - he made deals behind closed doors and will simply tell his fellow commissioners to shove it when the time comes. Poor governance!

Happily Married said...

If the other party had done the same thing - you would be up in arms. What does that mean? Come on - you can say it - starts with an H.

NewGuy said...

Happy, I've said my piece. Miller acted ethically and within the law. You don't like it.

OK

Did you know that both BOC Dems, Kennedy and Welch, EACH had conversations on the same subject with their counterparts on the Boone Town Council?

Now, if you have something new to add, I will be glad to respond to it. But, I believe you have made your point and I feel I have made mine. If it's important to you to be the last one to post - even if it's just a repetition of what you have already said, then be my guest. Unless you have something new to add however, I'm moving on.