Perry Legacy Under Fire

BLYTHEWOOD – Town Council Monday evening discussed a zoning ordinance text amendment that, if passed, will begin, in earnest, the dismantling of former Town Administrator John Perry’s grand plan for the Town – a high density development with multi-storied buildings in the Town Center patterned after Baxter Village and Davidson, N.C.

The Town’s Economic Development consultant Ed Parler told Council that while he saw benefit in many of the design standards contained in the Town Center District Ordinance – pulling buildings close to the street, the landscaping and streetscaping standards, lighting, exterior color and textures and parking in the rear of buildings – he said the requirement for multi-story buildings is a major obstacle to attracting new investment in the Town Center area.

The current ordinance calls for new buildings in certain areas of the Town Center to have, at a minimum, a second story or the appearance of a false second story. Parler said that could drive the cost of construction up significantly. Plus, he said, the Architectural Review Board has no authority to grant variances on height.

“We have lost several opportunities in the Town Center District due to the cost of construction,” Parler said.

Council took no action on the matter, but sent it to the Planning Commission for further review and recommendation before the ordinance is sent back to Council for a vote.