At their April 26 meeting, Asheville City Council members discussed state legislative action that could “seize a city’s real estate” — in this case, the Asheville Regional Airport. Council also received the the city budget and approved incentives for a south Asheville apartment complex.
House Bill 552 — cosponsored by Buncombe Reps. Tim Moffitt (Republican), Susan Fisher and Patsy Keever (Democrats) would create a “Greater Regional Airport Authority.” Membership of the current airport board would be expanded to include a Henderson County appointee, and the authority would own the airport and its facilities.
The legilsation concerned several Asheville City Council members, who argued the bill amounts to the state seizing municipal property. Asheville, Vice Mayor Jan Davis noted, built the runways and developed the land “at Asheville taxpayer expense.”
Also concerned about the apparent property seizure, Mayor Terry Bellamy remarked, “If it’s the airport today, what is it tomorrow?”
Asheville City Attorney Bill Oast noted that he was analyzing HB 552.
For more about City Council’s response to the proposed legislation, see our in-print article on May 4.
In other action, Asheville Council members:
• Endorsed, by a 4-3 vote, Leicester’s proposed incorporation. Council members Cecil Bothwell, Jan Davis and Brownie Newman opposed the action, supported by Bellamy, Gordon Smith, Esther Manheimer and Bill Russell.
• Set Tuesday, May 10, as the public-hearing date on the city’s $132 million annual budget.
• By a 5-1 vote, granted a two-year tax exemption for Weirbridge, a 280-unit apartment complex in south Asheville that will provide workforce housing and be ENERGY STAR-certified; Bothwell opposed and Manheimer was recused due to her law firm’s involvement with the project.