BIG RIVER: Flooding concerns have played a pivotal part in the recent debate over redevelopment plans for the River Arts District. Photo by Xpress.

If the creek don’t rise: Flooding, money and politics in the River Arts District

City plans to improve infrastructure, expand public space, increase access and encourage private development in the River Arts District have triggered considerable controversy. Xpress reached out to the city, RAD business and property owners, and organizations involved in the now flourishing area’s revitalization to try to answer some key questions.

Hemlock trees are disappearing from the Appalachian Mountains due to the non-native invasive species, the hemlock wooly adelgid. The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners agreed unanimously at the May 19 meeting to move forward with a project to preserve the hemlocks from further eradication.

Buncombe Commission­ers approve hemlock preservati­on project

At the Tuesday, May 19 meeting, commissioners unanimously approved a project to protect the region’s disappearing hemlock population. They also heard budget requests from Buncombe County Schools, Asheville City Schools, A-B Tech and District Attorney Todd Williams, as well as the proposed budget for the 2016 fiscal year — all of which will come to a public hearing at the next regular meeting, on June 2.

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Letter writer: $25 million project aims to improve Asheville’s water supply dam

“I can see how your reader interpreted the 2014 Water Quality report to suggest that Schnabel Engineering is doing a $25 million study. We have engaged Schnabel over the past several years to assess our primary water supply dam and identify improvements that are necessary to bring the dam into compliance with N.C. Dam Safety regulations.”

ADDING IT UP: According to the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits, Buncombe County is home to 449 nonprofit organizations. To fund their work, each organization must come up with creative solutions that helps them stand out from the crowd.

Nonprofits seek creative funding in Buncombe County

On April 14, representatives from 43 nonprofits requested funding from Buncombe County, as part of the county’s community development grant program. But these organizations make up only 9.6 percent of the total nonprofits in the county. Others rely on privately funded grants and donations, as well as individual donations — both small and large. Each organization must constantly work to grab and hold the public’s attention. And in a city like Asheville, it seems there’s never a shortage of worthy causes.

At the May 5 Buncombe County Board of Commissioners meeting, the board voted 7-0 to heighten development restrictions to protect the views along the Blue Ridge Parkway zoning overlay.

Buncombe Commission­ers approve new art, culture and history projects, parkway preservati­on

At the Tuesday, May 5, Buncombe County Board of Commissioners meeting, three projects supporting the arts were approved 7-0 — including the go-ahead to plan a new monument outside the Buncombe County Courthouse. A resolution to protect the viewshed of the Blue Ridge Parkway passed 7-0, and a letter asking the Western North Carolina Regional Air Quality Agency to align with EPA standards was approved 4-3.

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Buncombe Commission­ers to discuss parkway preservati­on, historical art project, air quality concerns

The Tuesday, May 5 Buncombe County Board of Commissioners meeting might be one for the books, as the board will discuss a new art, culture and history project that may result in the addition of a new landmark on the horizon. The board will discuss this, as well as a few environmental interests.

COUNTY LANDS: Following the March 17 Buncombe County Board of Commissioners retreat, word spread that the county may consider lifting restrictions on mobile homes in R-1 and R-2 districts. Graphic by Anna Whitley & Kyle Kirkpatrick

Boon or bane: Buncombe residents speak out against manufactur­ed housing

A steady stream of Buncombe County residents queued up April 7 to voice opposition to loosening restrictions on mobile homes. The concern stemmed from local media reports that the county may consider allowing manufactured housing in all residential districts, prompting discussion on whether mobile homes are actually affordable.