The people have spoken, and they want a significant public space facing the Basilica of St. Lawrence and the U.S. Cellular Center. A City Council committee considers the way forward. Photo by Virginia Daffron

What’s next for Haywood Street site?

One clear winner from the 2015 City Council elections: local hopes for a public space for the city-owned lots facing the Basilica of St. Lawrence and the U.S. Cellular Center. Not so clear: exactly what kind of space Asheville needs and who will pay for it. The city’s Planning and Economic Development committee took up the hot potato issue to try to figure out how to move forward.

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Buncombe Commission­ers to discuss economic incentives­, public school needs

At the Tuesday, Feb. 2 Buncombe County Board of Commissioners meeting, the Board will consider an economic development incentive for Hi-Wire Brewing — an item that was dropped from the January agenda, facility needs surveys for both Asheville City Schools and Buncombe County Schools, and a zoning request east of Black Mountain.

URBAN FOREST  Unaware of the controversy over their fate, 23 mature oaks stand on a knoll overlooking Coxe Avenue. Photo by Virginia Daffron

Oaks’ last stand: South Slope urban forest won’t get city funds

If the 23 mature oak trees at 11 Collier Ave. on Asheville’s South Slope are to escape the chainsaw, it will have to be without the city’s help. While City Council followed through on its commitment to explore possible strategies for preserving the urban forest, in the end Council decided that committing resources to the effort in advance of significant private fundraising wasn’t a responsible use of taxpayer assets.

Franzi Charen encourages  folks to "Go Local" in front of Anthropologie. Photo by Able Allen

Charen appointed to Downtown Commission

City Council appointed Franzi Charen to the Downtown Commission and Barry Bialik and Laura Collins to the Affordable Housing Advisory Committee at its Jan. 26 meeting. Council also passed a “Ban the Box” measure, meaning that applicants for most city positions will no longer be required to answer questions about past criminal convictions on their initial job applications.

South-bound traffic on Sweeten Creek Road at 3 p.m. on a Wednesday. Photo provided by South Asheville Resident & Business Community Organization (SARBCO)

City Council to consider Ban the Box; apartments at former Plasticorp site

On Tuesday, Jan. 26, City Council will take up the Ban the Box initiative for city hiring, potentially removing questions about an applicant’s past criminal history from the initial application form for certain positions. Council also will hear public comment on matters including reallocation of unused affordable housing development grant funds, an airport hotel and a controversial apartment complex proposed for Mills Gap Road.

Hotel owner John McKibbon promises living wage for full-time employees of redeveloped BB&T building, $250,000 contribution to affordable housing trust fund, $750,000 investment on publicly-owned land and public art. Photo by Virginia Daffron

McKibbon gets Council go-ahead for BB&T reno

Wrap up of key City Council decisions from Jan. 12 meeting, including renovation of the former BB&T building, preliminary utility fee waiver for Lee Walker Heights redevelopment for purposes of securing financing, Givens Estates Creekside redevelopment approval and the apparent end of the line for the effort to save the Collier Street Wood on Asheville’s South Slope.

Street level plan for proposed redevelopment of One West Pack Square. Image from McKibbon Hotel Group

Council to consider BB&T renovation­, Lee Walker Heights resolution

On Tues., January 12, City Council will turn its attention to matters including naming the second Monday in October “Indigenous People’s Day,” voting on the redevelopment of the former BB&T building as a luxury hotel and considering a resolution declaring the redevelopment of the Lee Walker Heights public housing community a “redevelopment project.”

Buncombe County Landfill. Photo by Aiyanna Sezak-Blatt

Think before you toss: Asheville considers pay-as-you-throw trash collection

It’s a motion we hardly have to think about: The arm swings back, then forward, and the discarded item arcs toward the trash bin. It’s almost as easy as breathing. But what if it cost more the more times we tossed? Would we start thinking twice before throwing something away? Despite exhortations to live sustainably, […]