New numbers reveal more about Asheville’s homeless issue

Asheville’s homeless population declined in what city officials are dubbing “a good year,” according to an annual count conducted in late January. However, while local programs may be having an impact, one of the officials in charge of administering them says that economic pressures and a lack of affordable housing continue to create a difficult situation.

Tensions run high over tackling Asheville’s graffiti

Local business owners raised their voices and things got, by the moderator’s own admission, “a little out of hand” at Friday morning’s Council of Independent Business Owners meeting when it came to the issue of graffiti. With the district attorney, city leaders and a state representative on hand, opinions differed — sometimes sharply — on possible solutions and who should foot the bill.

ACA health insurance still available for some locals

While the sign-up deadline for health care under the Affordable Care Act passed March 31, some can still sign up, according to an attorney with one of the local nonprofits that has assisted WNC residents in doing so. People who dealt with technical difficulties or have a major life change can still get healthcare under the ACA. Also, due to North Carolina’s government refusing to expand Medicaid, many locals will not face a penalty for not having insurance.

City rolls out new zoning plan for Haywood Road tomorrow night-attachment0

City rolls out new zoning plan for Haywood Road tomorrow night

After months of preparation, city of Asheville staff will present a new “form-based” zoning plan for the Haywood Road corridor at a meeting tomorrow night, Thursday, March 27. The new plan is a very different approach from the city’s previous development rules, and could provide a model for overhauling other neighborhoods’ zoning as well.

Asheville City Council preview: dueling futures

As a renewed push to move the Interstate 26 connector forward continues, Asheville City Council gets its turn on Tuesday, March 25, to consider a joint resolution seeking to make the long-delayed highway overhaul a reality, even as a number of community groups vocally oppose the plan. Council will also consider what to do with vacant property on Haywood Street across from the Basilica of St. Lawrence, another contentious issue.

Designing frameworks: Council readies for legislature’s return

Last year, relations between the North Carolina General Assembly and the city of Asheville were marked by hostility, public wars of words and even a lawsuit. At a special meeting yesterday, March 18, however, multiple Asheville City Council members expressed a desire to improve things this year, even though looming legislation could cost the city further revenue. They also signed off on efforts to better coordinate the city’s own lobbying efforts in Raleigh.

Mandates and precedents: Around 100 gather for update on water system fight

About 100 people gathered tonight for a forum updating locals on the dispute over the fate of the city’s water system from local government and activists. Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer said the public has given city leaders a clear mandate to continue its lawsuit and fight to preserve local control of the water system against state legislation seeking to seize it and turn it over to a regional authority.

A plan for everything

Late last month, Asheville City Council passed the Haywood Road Vision Plan, a years-long effort by community members and city staff to outline the future of the corridor. It’s not a one-time event either: Such plans for different areas of the city are a main way city leaders hope to shape the Asheville of tomorrow, and it’s a plan they want to extend to more neighborhoods. Sometimes, however, these plans can also prove controversial.

Challengers join the fray as filing for 2014 local elections ends

As filing ended at noon Feb. 28 for this year’s local elections, a flurry of candidates threw their hats into the ring. Two challengers, in different districts, will take on incumbent Democratic Buncombe County Commissioners, a Republican commissioner got another challenger and an opponent emerged for the current sheriff.