Special Use Permit Hearing
The MRA went before Montreat's Board of Adjustment to request a Special Use Permit to build the proposed hotel. The permit hearing lasted for about 50 hours over eight sessions, beginning on October 21, 2021 and coming to an end on January 6, 2022, when the Board voted to grant the permit.
The Board's perfunctory, two-hour deliberation did not do justice to the prior hours of the hearing; they failed to consider the ample evidence that opposing lawyers presented or make the findings of fact that the law requires. Now, the MRA has the zoning permit they need to go forward with demolition and construction. This would have terrible repercussions for Montreat, changing the town and its environment in ways that could not be undone: a polluted creek, loss of 60 mature trees, demolition of three historic structures, damage to neighboring homes. All of this was shown plainly in the hearing.
A summary of each session can be found in the Black Mountain News articles available here, and recordings of each session are available at the following links:
Dr. Barrett Kays' testimony on stormwater can be viewed in the Dec. 15 hearing beginning at: 7:11:40. His cross-examination begins on Jan. 4 at 0:11:55.
Cost to the Town of Montreat for the Special Use Permit Hearing
At the April 14 Board of Commissioners meeting, the Mayor reported on the direct costs to the Town for the hearing on the hotel.
The Town has spent over $100,000 to date on attorney fees alone. Adding in staff overtime and expected additional legal costs, the mayor estimates the total will be between $121,555 and $124,555. This represents an extraordinary 6% of the Town's annual budget.
The story was reported in the April 15 Black Mountain News: 'This is sobering': Montreat Board of Commissioners approves 6 budget amendments
Summary of Montreat Board of Adjustment Process
Special Use Permits
This process was detailed by an attorney for the Montreat Board of Adjustment at a training session on August 24 for the Board members to learn about quasi-judicial hearings, evidence, and details of Special Use Permits. The 2-hour session was video recorded and may be viewed by CLICKING HERE.