The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners will meet in a special closed session Friday morning to discuss the possible purchase of the Parkside property from developer Stewart Coleman, in an effort to put an end to the ongoing controversy.
Vice Chair David Gantt confirmed the purpose of the meeting, which has been rumored for days. County staff confirmed yesterday that there would be a special meeting on Friday, but would not divulge its purpose.
The meeting “is to consider the possible purchase of the Parkside property,” Gantt told Xpress. “I support it. It’s something we need to do. It’s time to get this nightmare behind us.”
He added that he could not discuss additional details yet.
The board voted to sell a piece of public parkland near city hall to Coleman in 2006 for $322,000, and he subsequently proposed to build a nine-story-tall condominium development on it and adjoining land. Critics of the project have asserted that it constituted a back-room deal that gave Coleman extremely valuable real estate with little public input. Asheville City Council unanimously condemned the original sale and the county passed a resolution urging the city to swap land to get the property back.
The board’s special meeting comes as public pressure has reached a fever pitch, with City Council urging the county to resolve the issue a second time. Meanwhile, protesters have held daily vigils on the former parkland.
— David Forbes, staff writer