Pub cycles, BID boards, and more: a roundup from Asheville City Council’s Dec. 11 meeting

While the continuing struggle over the fate of the city’s water system was the evening’s main issue, Asheville City Council had plenty of other topics to tackle at last night’s session.

Here’s some of the other issues Council took action on:

• Council unanimously approved a board for the downtown Business Improvement District. Council member Marc Hunt, who led the selection process, asserted that appointees represented a variety of views and experiences. However, during the controversy leading up to the BID’s passage, some Council members suggested the BID Board be sensitive to homelessness issues downtown. Mayor Terry Bellamy also said she felt there was a lack of racial diversity among the BID nominees.

In the end, Council added two board positions for members who have experience dealing with homelessness. Council member Jan Davis was named as the Council representative on the board.

• A-B Tech received unanimous approval for its new health-and-workforce development center, a 185,421 square feet, five-story building on Victoria Road. Some residents of the nearby Livingston Heights community had concerns about storm-water and lighting plans, but the designers said they’re working hard to address those issues. Council expressed its hope that A-B Tech would talk with jobs-training nonprofit Green Opportunities about ways to ensure that the project benefited locals, such as the model recently used in the renovation of the Reid Center.

• Council unanimously adopted new lighting standards that set rules for LED lights, ban floodlights and restrict lighting like that used on the new Aloft Hotel. The amended rules mean that such lighting, noted Assistant Planning Director Shannon Tuch, “could not be done again.”

• Asheville will see pub cycles in the future: Two new businesses are already interested in bringing the human-powered trolley vehicles into town. Council voted unanimously to allow them in downtown and on city roads with speed limits under 35 mph, though the proposal will have to pass a second reading at the Jan. 8 meeting.

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