The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a joint meeting with the Watauga County Economic Development Commission (EDC) at 4:30 P.M. on Monday, October 8, 2012, in the Commissioners’ Board Room at the Watauga County Administration Building, Boone, North Carolina.

 Those present were:  Chairman Miller, Vice-Chairman Gable, Commissioner Blust, Commissioner Deal, County Manager Geouque, and Clerk to the Board Fogle.  Others present were as follows:  Economic Development Commission Members:  Mr. Andy Ball, Mr. Dan Meyer, Mr. Keith Honeycutt, Mr. Charles Hardin, Ms. Mary Hall, Mr. Paul Combs, Ms. Lauren Waterworth, Ms. Jeannine Underdown Collins, Mr. Ben Shoemake, and Mr. Tommy Sofield.  Staff:  Mr. Joe Furman, Planning and Inspections and Economic Development Director and Mr. John Spears, Planner.


Chairman Miller called the joint meeting to order at 4:37 P.M. and turned the meeting over to EDC Chairman, Keith Honeycutt.

 Mr. Honeycutt stated that the Economic Development Commission had an aggressive but proactive plan to attract industrial development to Watauga County.  At the Board of Commissioners’ August 21, 2012, regular meeting the EDC had requested the use of the County-owned, old high school property for the location of an Industrial Park.  Mr. Honeycutt stated that the EDC funds were available for due diligence and surveying the property.  The consulting firm InSite, owned by Tonya Crist and Rob Cornwell, was hired by the EDC to perform a targeted marketing analysis.  InSite had shared a list of approximately 150 businesses to contact once an Industrial Park was established

 The Board of Commissioners received two offers to purchase the old high school property at their October 2, 2012, regular meeting.  One was in the amount of $15,000,000 and the other $15,500,000.  Neither offer was in compliance with the General Statutes nor at an amount that the Board was willing to accept; however, new offers could be submitted at a future meeting.  Both offers proposed mixed use development including retail and housing.

 The EDC’s recommendation for a “Class A” industrial park at the old high school property was based upon the readiness of the property which already contained the infrastructure sought by many industries.  The property was owned by the County, contained 25 flat usable acres, and had the following already available:  a roadway, water/sewer, gas lines, power, and high speed internet.  These amenities would have to be constructed and installed if another property was purchased for the Park.

 Other properties were mentioned; however, Mr. Honeycutt stated that all 150 companies whose names had been provided to the EDC by InSite indicated that they wanted to be located within a “Class A” Industrial Park as opposed to a stand-alone site.  The InSite study also identified the following markets for a “Class A” Industrial Park: 

 Primary Markets

  • Watauga County’s existing companies
  • entrepreneurs/creative class
  • professional, scientific and technical services including computer systems design services

 Future Markets

  • miscellaneous manufacturing, including sporting and athletic goods manufacturing
  • surgical and medical instruments
  • surgical appliances and supplies
  • computer and electronic manufacturing, including analytical laboratory instrument manufacturing
  • professional, scientific and technical services, including research and development in biotechnology.   

 Mr. Honeycutt stated that there were other potential sites; however, the EDC had focused on the old high school property upon InSite’s recommendation.

 After discussion, Mr. Honeycutt stated that he understood the Board of Commissioners was in favor of the concept of a “Class A” industrial Park and encouraged the Economic Development Commission to move forward with the search for an appropriate site of which a potential purchase could be considered at a time when the old high school property was sold.

 Chairman Miller thanked the Economic Development Commission for its work on this project.

 Mr. Dan Meyer announced that a “Meet the Candidates” event would be held the evening of Tuesday, October 9, 2012, at the Watauga County Courthouse.

 Chairman Miller adjourned the meeting at 5:37 P.M.


Nathan A. Miller, Chairman


Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board