BANNER ELK — The Banner Elk Planning Board met on Oct. 7 for its regular meeting and discussed the upcoming project at the former Cannon Memorial Hospital site in the town.
The 10-acre property was purchased in August 2018 with the intention to use the site for a mixed use development. The plan currently includes housing, offices, a restaurant and cabins to be constructed in two phases.
The next step for the project is for the first phase to go before the town’s board of adjustment before construction can begin.
Town Zoning Administrator Cheryl Buchanan said the main issue keeping the project from going to the BOA is a legal issue that needs to be resolved with an adjoining property owner for the project to proceed as planned.
There is right-of-way allowing access to another landowner’s property through the site which will need to be adjusted, essentially moved slightly, to accommodate the site plans.
Buchanan said it is unlikely the project would be up for permit approval by the next BOA meeting on Oct. 21 because the public hearing would need to be noticed for 10 business days.
The two property owners are in contact about the issue.
The mixed-use property will currently be allowed to exceed the 45-foot height limit the town has in place to build up to 70 feet, approximately the height of the old hospital facility. The hotel on site is planned for that height but none of the other buildings are as well.
The intention was initially to save the old hospital facility and convert it, but the building has deteriorated to the point where the developer wants to tear down the old structure.
“It sits in a valley with a big mountain behind it, so a 70-foot building doesn’t look as big in that scenario, and that’s the only piece of property in Banner Elk zoned mixed use, so it fits on that piece of property,” Buchanan said. “That’s why they considered the zoning ordinance.”