The Parkside condominium project, which touched off a firestorm of controversy last summer, is still awaiting an appeal after a Superior Court ruling protecting Pack Square as public space.
But developer Stewart Coleman is proceeding with a request for a construction easement for a road through Pack Square park land. Under the building’s current design, the road is required for fire and emergency access to the building, but it’s construction hinges on the the permission of the Asheville City Council, Buncombe County Commissioners and the Pack Square Conservancy.
According to a city staff report, Coleman is proceeding with the request so that approval will be in place in case an appeal overturns the Superior Court ruling holding up the condo project. This is consistent with Coleman’s December request to demolish the Hayes and Hopson Building. That building, still standing, would have to come down to make way for the requested road.
The news has already rallied activists who last summer opposed the Parkside construction and staged a round-the-clock sit-in at a magnolia tree on the staging area in front of Asheville City Hall.
“[The road] would introduce traffic right next to the main performance area of the new Pack Square Park, which would be dangerous to pedestrians (especially children running around), and the traffic noise would be disruptive to performances,” writes Dixie Deerman aka Lady Passion, in an e-mail to Xpress.
The item is listed under “Unfinished Business” on the meeting agenda, and it is unclear whether Council plans to make a decision on the easement tonight or if it will request more information from staff.
— Brian Postelle, staff writer