Asheville City Council preview: Of camps and churches

At its meeting tonight, Jan. 10, Asheville City Council will hear staff reports on a possible permit process for Occupy Asheville campers and an offer from the Basilica of St. Lawrence to purchase nearby city property for $2 million, among other items.

The permitting process for the campers, proposed in rough form at a Jan. 3 Public Safety Committee meeting by Council member Gordon Smith as an alternative to a staff-proposed ban on camping on city property, will get feedback from staff at the meeting. Smith originally proposed a permit, renewable every seven days, for individual campers staying on a site. Currently, some Occupy Asheville protesters are staying in an encampment in front of City Hall.

On Dec. 20, the Diocese of Charlotte, which runs the basilica, offered the city $2 million for properties across the street, with half on closing the deal and half if any future development of the area takes place. As part of the deal, the city would have to demolish abandoned structures on the site and turn it into surface parking. Staff will report to Council on the proposal.

Council will also consider the allocation of money from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, its capital projects for the upcoming year, and revisions to its incentives policies.

The meeting begins at 5 p.m., Jan. 10 in Council’s chambers on the second floor of City Hall.

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