For many years Watauga and the surrounding counties have been expanding.
This expansion can be attributed to many different things, one of which being Appalachian State University taking in more students. As a result, smaller towns like Banner Elk have experienced higher rates of street traffic and tourist traffic. In a Banner Elk Town Council meeting on Monday the 8th, Police Chief Kevin Hodges proposed an amendment to allow his department to ticket people for blocking handicap parking spots with things like building materials, personal property, items associated with said operation of the business, or any other materials which would impede use of the handicap parking spaces as opposed to just vehicles. Hodges also requested that they raise the parking citation fine range of $15 to $50 to a minimum of $50 to as high as $150. The council voted to accept these new ordinances. The council is also working with zoning administrator Riley Pudney to allow more access to food trucks in Banner Elk. Pudney said “The last two or three weeks we’ve been collaborating with business owners and those who operate or utilize food trucks, and between them, the town and the Planning Board, they’ve seen these changes, they are the ones that brought the ideas to us,” Pudney said. “It’s been a collaborative effort and everyone that we’ve spoken to in that area has been pleased.” For more information on these ordinances visit townofbannerelk.org.