It’s a busy evening for Asheville City Council tonight, as they consider approval of the New Belgium brewery, a plan for local food sustainability, and the second phase of a Harris Teeter-anchored commercial development on Merrimon Avenue.
City officials have touted the proposal for a $175 million, 205,737 square foot brewery in the heart of the River Arts District as a major coup for the area. But some locals have raised concerns about whether the aging infrastructure in the area can handle the increased traffic created by the brewery.
Partly in response to those concerns, the city is also proposing $220,000 in sidewalk and transportation improvements, with $50,000 coming from New Belgium, as well as a study of more significant road changes in the future. The brewery will begin operations in 2015.
After months of deliberation, the Asheville-Buncombe Food Policy Council — a local group of citizens that includes Council member Gordon Smith — will present the Food Action Plan to the city. The plan calls for more food sustainability, including revising rules to make farmer’s markets easier to hold, encouraging the city of Asheville to purchase local food, encouraging growing food on city-owned land, and study the creation of a curbside composting service, among other measures.
Council will also consider the next phase of a development, anchored by a Harris Teeter grocery store, on Merrimon Avenue. The proposal has already attracted considerable debate over the inclusion of drive-thrus and whether the development fits in with the corridor. The city’s planning and zoning commission split its vote on the proposal evenly.
Asheville City Council meets at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22 on the second floor of City Hall.