City Council to state: Hands off our airport

City Council to state: Hands off our airport-attachment0

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.

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5 thoughts on “City Council to state: Hands off our airport

  1. Richarad

    My home provides workforce housing for my family and I could afford to upgrade my energy efficiency if the city would give me a huge tax break! Who is paying for the services that weirbridge will get at reduced cost? Could it be the tax payers????

  2. Stunned in West Asheville

    I’m appalled. It’s bad enough that Moffitt sponsored this bill, but Fisher and Keever, Democrats who live in Asheville? Is it that they simply take Asheville voters for granted, thinking that most will stay with the incumbent Democrats no matter what? This is outrageous. I thought Fisher had learned her lesson after shafting the city with Sullivan II and III. (At least she said she regretted sponsoring those bills.) When she was on the airport board she voted herself a nice trip to Hawaii. (Oh, the hardships of duty, Susan!) Now this. Unbelievable.

    I hope candidates who realize that a strong Asheville is good for the region challenge those two in the Democratic primary next time. Actually, simply realizing that state legislators have no business stealing municipalities’ property would suffice.

  3. Fed up with City

    Mayor Terry Bellamy remarked, “If it’s the airport today, what is it tomorrow?”

    Dear Mayor Bellamy,

    The people that are about to be annexed by the city feel the same way.

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