City may support tree-cutting lawsuit; approves Lenoir-Rhyne campus

City may support tree-cutting lawsuit; approves Lenoir-Rhyne campus-attachment0

Future Lenoir-Rhyne satellite campus site. Photo by Max Cooper

The city of Asheville, at the Sierra Club’s request, may file an amicus brief supporting a lawsuit against new state rules that allow clear-cutting around billboards. Asheville City Council also approved a rezoning necessary for a Lenoir-Rhyne University satellite campus in the chamber of commerce building.

Judy Mattox, chair of the local Sierra Club Group, asked the city to support a lawsuit asking for an injunction against the rules. Mayor Terry Bellamy noted that the city is already on record as opposing the original state law that allowed the changes, but she wants to give the city attorney’s office time to do the necessary research for an amicus brief. Other Council members criticized the impact of the new rules, asserting that the clear-cutting they allow could be potentially devastating in the mountains.

Council also unanimously approved a rezoning necessary for a Lenoir-Rhyne University satellite campus in (currently unused) third floor of the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce’s building. The campus will host up to 200 students, though only a quarter of those are expected to be in the building at any given time. Paul Knott, who will direct the campus, told Council that it will be a boon to the area, improving its education system and hiring local faculty.

In other action, Council:

• Heard an update on the city’s new recycling bins, part of a larger campaign called “Zero Waste AVL.” The new, larger bins will get an official kick-off 10 a.m. Monday, March 5 at West Asheville Park.

• Unanimously approved new rules expanding the allowed types of signs.

• Unanimously approved the city joining the 10% Campaign, committing the city to buy 10 percent of its food locally.

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