REVIVING THE HOMESTEAD: North Carolina has long been defined by its agriculture industry. As development pressures and rising land costs threaten to consume viable farmland acorss the state, public officials and private land trusts are working to preserve N.C.'s farming heritage and revitalize existing farms. Photo courtesy of Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy.

Eyes on the future: Saving WNC’s farms

Robin Reeves is the sixth generation to grow up on her family’s Madison County farm — a lineage that dates back to before the Civil War. Reeves spent much of her youth helping her parents raise cattle, burley tobacco and tomatoes as well as her extended family in Sandy Mush. As an adolescent, she sold […]

LOOK HOMEWARD, ASHEVILLE! Asheville's current boom in tourism and development mirrors the state of the city during Thomas Wolfe's life in several respects. The author, who wrote extensively about the changes he saw around him, may offer clues as to how the city can address current concerns and questions facing its residents. Left photo by MAx Hunt. Right photo courtesy of North Carolina Collection, Pack Memorial Public Library, Asheville, NC.

Of time and the city: Issues facing Asheville in Wolfe’s youth mirror today’s concerns

Asheville and environs have seen considerable change in the 77 years since Wolfe’s death, yet many of the aspects he wrote (and sometimes fumed) about seem uncannily familiar. And as current residents ponder the challenges the city faces today, a look at several of the celebrated author’s key themes might prove instructive.

The roof of Asheville City Hall.

Packed agenda for Nov. 17 City Council meeting: utility substation­s, Homestay ordinance and more

The Asheville City Council meeting scheduled for Nov. 17 boasts a full agenda featuring two hot topics – utility substations and changes to the city’s Homestay ordinance. Citizens wishing to comment on those issues may want to arrive at the Council chamber on the second floor of City Hall earlier than the 5 p.m. start time, as a full house seems likely.

The day after City Council approved a request from the developers of the troubled Eagle Market Place project to modify the terms of some city agreements with the project, construction continues. Photo by Virginia Daffron.

Council approves Eagle Market loan modificati­ons; agrees to fewer affordable units

At its Nov. 11 meeting, City Council approved a request to alter terms of the city’s support for a troubled mixed-use development on Eagle and Market Streets. As part of the modification, the city agreed to allow the developer to make 24-30 of the project’s 62 units into workforce housing. Originally, all 62 units were designated affordable housing.


City council to consider Eagle Market Place modificati­ons; Shiloh storage facility

At its Tuesday, Nov. 10 meeting, city council will hear public input on a proposed self-storage facility rejected by the city’s Planning & Zoning Commission. Council also will consider a request from the Eagle Market Place housing project to modify the terms of city loans to enable the project to obtain additional bank financing.

Small town competition levels

Small-scale democracy: Small town elections offer intriguing possibilit­ies, but few options

“The best cure for the ills of democracy is more democracy.” — Edward Abbey, A Voice Crying in the Wilderness The affluent little town of Chevy Chase, Maryland, population 2,918, was rocked earlier this year when a surprise write-in candidate garnered 168 votes to displace an unopposed incumbent. The town attorney and Ethics Commission were […]


Asheville City Council general election guide

Six candidates of the original 15 remain after the Oct. 6 primary election: Brian Haynes, Marc Hunt, Rich Lee, Julie Mayfield, Lindsey Simerly and Keith Young. Of those six, only three will be elected to Asheville City Council on Tuesday, Nov. 3 — and, based off of the primary’s close numbers, it’ll likely be a fight to the finish.

Todd Okolichany on Lexington Avenue, which was just recognized by the American Planning Association as one of America's Great Places. Okolichany joined the city as planning director in September. Photo by Virginia Daffron.

Man with a plan: Okolichany takes the helm as Asheville’­s planning director

“There are no one-size-fits-all solutions in planning: Each place is very different,” says Todd Okolichany, who began work as Asheville’s new planning director Sept. 8. “That’s a key value for me as a planner: recognizing the differences and uniqueness of each place.” Okolichany, 36, comes to Asheville from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where he was principal […]

City council candidates at the Council of Independent Business Owners (CIBO) forum. Photo by Virginia Daffron.

Down to business: CIBO city council candidate forum

The final six candidates in the race for Asheville’s city council are by now veterans of many forums and panel discussions. Wednesday’s Council of Independent Business Owners (CIBO) forum emphasized issues of particular interest and importance to Asheville’s business community, yielding some answers frequently heard on the campaign trail and some that moved into more wonkish territory.