A photograph of the ice house lingered on the projector screen in the council chamber on Jan. 8 before members of Asheville City Council voted to demolish the historic building. Glancing at the image before he spoke, Council member Jan Davis said, “It seems like a terrible loss to tear it down but, on the other hand, I’m not sure there’s enough there to salvage.”
As a result, the only portion of the 50,000-square-foot structure that will not be going up in smoke will be the iconic smokestack, which will be preserved and secured.
Councilman Cecil Bothwell was the only council member to vote “no” after he suggested the governing body wait to make a decision about the pre-World War II building. But in the end, the vote was 5-1 in favor of demolition that Council then voted 6-0 to allocate $145,000 to complete said demolition. Council member Marc Hunt was absent due to a family vacation.
In other business:
• Council voted 6-0 to allow a maximum of two food trucks in Biltmore Village. As a result of the amendment to the food truck resolution that was approved August 2011, the definition of food trucks has been expanded to include trucks that just serve drinks and don’t contain a kitchen (like coffee trucks). Also as a result of the vote, the food trucks in Biltmore Village will park their mobile eats and drinks vehicles in an off-street lot (similar to downtown Asheville’s “The Lot”). At the meeting, some local business owners said they did not feel their mobile counterparts had to meet the same standards as traditional brick and mortar establishments. Davis responded by saying he remembered when the downtown food trucks were questioned and similar questions were raised. “I was wrong. It’s gone very well. I think it contributes to the area instead of takes from it,” he told the concerned business owners.
• Council voted 6-0 to approve a conditional use permit requested by a new developer working on the Thomas Estate subdivision in North Asheville. The permit allows for various changes to go forward at the subdivision including community amenities and a parking lot.
• Council voted 6-0 to remove the ban on outdoor speakers in the Central Business and River District. Under this new amendment, noise complaints will be enforced through the noise ordinance.
For a closer look at the Jan. 8 Council meeting, be sure to pick up the Jan. 15 issue of Mountain Xpress.