Education was a hot button issue this Friday, with the N.C. House passing a $22 billion spending budget, which increased funding for schools. This meant that a visit from Sen. Terry Van Duyn, D-Buncombe, who spoke today at an Asheville City Schools Foundation event, could not have come at a more relevant time.
Identifying the challenges facing the Future I-26 project is fairly straightforward; implementing the needed improvements is more complicated. So how does an ordinary highway become an interstate? And when might the stretch north of downtown Asheville make the interstate grade?
“Despite its name, Regional Recycling Solutions (the new solid-waste recycling facility proposed for West Asheville along Hominy Creek) is a big step backward for recycling here in Western North Carolina.”
At the Tuesday, May 19 meeting, commissioners unanimously approved a project to protect the region’s disappearing hemlock population. They also heard budget requests from Buncombe County Schools, Asheville City Schools, A-B Tech and District Attorney Todd Williams, as well as the proposed budget for the 2016 fiscal year — all of which will come to a public hearing at the next regular meeting, on June 2.
The Tuesday, May 19, Buncombe County Board of Commissioners’ meeting will be all about the budget — shifting near the end to discuss a possible hemlock preservation project.
“I can see how your reader interpreted the 2014 Water Quality report to suggest that Schnabel Engineering is doing a $25 million study. We have engaged Schnabel over the past several years to assess our primary water supply dam and identify improvements that are necessary to bring the dam into compliance with N.C. Dam Safety regulations.”
It’s not yet clear what action Asheville City Council members will take on short-term rentals, but Council is leaning toward stiffer fines, stricter enforcement and a continued ban in residential areas.
“Mayor Manheimer really failed to answer Penley’s question — what is Asheville doing about veteran homelessness?”
May flowers are here, bringing National Bike Month along for the ride. In anticipation of future tourists on bikes, a coalition of organizations in the western counties gave them a boost by supporting a new study by Kostelec Planning.
“I’m glad to see community members raising questions about what we are doing to end veteran homelessness in Buncombe County. No one who has served our country should be left to live in a car, a camp or a shelter.”
The Asheville City Council will discuss possible changes May 12 to parts of the city’s Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) that govern short-term rental and homestays.
On April 14, representatives from 43 nonprofits requested funding from Buncombe County, as part of the county’s community development grant program. But these organizations make up only 9.6 percent of the total nonprofits in the county. Others rely on privately funded grants and donations, as well as individual donations — both small and large. Each organization must constantly work to grab and hold the public’s attention. And in a city like Asheville, it seems there’s never a shortage of worthy causes.
Doing the county’s business takes longer these days. Meetings of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners now regularly run three hours or more, some say because of a partisan split and time-consuming conflict.
At the Tuesday, May 5, Buncombe County Board of Commissioners meeting, three projects supporting the arts were approved 7-0 — including the go-ahead to plan a new monument outside the Buncombe County Courthouse. A resolution to protect the viewshed of the Blue Ridge Parkway passed 7-0, and a letter asking the Western North Carolina Regional Air Quality Agency to align with EPA standards was approved 4-3.
“While the article’s focus was on ‘pedestrian safety,’ it at least attempted to take a step at raising the issue. Yes, pedestrian safety is certainly an issue on Merrimon. But so is the safety of people driving their cars!”
The Tuesday, May 5 Buncombe County Board of Commissioners meeting might be one for the books, as the board will discuss a new art, culture and history project that may result in the addition of a new landmark on the horizon. The board will discuss this, as well as a few environmental interests.
A steady stream of Buncombe County residents queued up April 7 to voice opposition to loosening restrictions on mobile homes. The concern stemmed from local media reports that the county may consider allowing manufactured housing in all residential districts, prompting discussion on whether mobile homes are actually affordable.
“Through a partnership with Homeward Bound, the city of Asheville provides support to implement the federal Supportive Services for Veteran Families grant. Homeward Bound was awarded $2.7 million in federal funding from the Department of Veterans Affairs to implement its Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) over the next three years.”
“Some time ago, an announcement was made public that Asheville’s mayor had accepted [first lady] Michelle Obama’s challenge to end veterans’ homelessness. Since then, I have not seen or heard anything about the actual plans to do this.”
At tonight’s meeting, April 28, Asheville City Council members may agree to ask the local air agency to “strengthen” proposed limits on sulphur dioxide emissions at Duke Energy’s local power plant. The move comes ahead of a Wednesday, April 29, public hearing that the Western North Carolina Regional Air Quality Agency will hold to consider renewing the air permit for the Duke Energy plant.
On Tuesday, April 21, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners held two workshops: one to hear nonprofit funding requests and the other to facilitate discussion with the Buncombe County Fire Chiefs Association.