Bowen Bridge will carry only local traffic under N.C. Department of Transportation's 4B plan. Photo by Bill Rhodes

Finally, a route for I-26 through Asheville

A route has finally been chosen, but numerous details about the long-delayed I-26 Connector through Asheville — including the scope of the project and how the new roadway will affect nearby residents — remain unclear. After decades of debate, the N.C. Department of Transportation has settled on a route for the Interstate 26 project through […]

FUTURE VISION: At the city planning department’s offices, Planning Director Todd Okolichany reviews documents with staff. Planner Stacy Merten, left of Okolichany, is the staff lead for the comprehensive plan update project. Photo by Virginia Daffron

The road ahead: Asheville launches comprehens­ive planning process

Asheville’s last comprehensive city plan was completed in 2003. Since then, the city has gained 16,000 residents and embarked on a wide range of revitalization, infrastructure and multimodal transportation projects. Now it’s time to begin a new planning process that will span a year and a half and involve a broad cross-section of the city’s residents.

Asheville City Hall and the historic Buncombe County Courthouse in May 2016. Photo by Virginia Daffron

Homestay vote looms large for May 17 meeting of City Council

In December last year, City Council directed city staff to analyze the potential impact of expanding the city’s homestay program for short-term rentals to separate living units known as ADUs. Six months later, much more information is available, but little if any consensus has emerged from the process. On May 17, Council will vote on a measure to allow homestays in ADUs, but the outcome of that vote is up in the air, meaning that another long night of testimony on the issue seems inevitable.

COLLEGE BOUND: High School students in the City of Asheville Youth Leadership Academy, pictured, are given access to summer internships, leadership opportunities and more to help prepare them for future employment. Photo courtesy of Erika Germer

City of Asheville taps Youth Leadership Academy participan­ts

A group of local students will each receive a summer internship, networking opportunities and a $2,000 scholarship, through the City of Asheville’s Youth Leadership Academy. The group, comprised of 25 students, was recently selected as the program’s incoming class of 2017. CAYLA, created in 2007, has helped more than 140 students gain real world experience […]

Students from A.C. Reynolds High School told City Council they need public transportation for after school activities and tutoring. Photo by Virginia Daffron

Council hears summary of proposed $161 million city budget, $46 million short-term bonds

On May 10, City Council heard presentations from city CFO Barbara Whitehorn on the proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year, as well as short-term bonds that will finance $46 million in capital improvement projects during construction. Council also heard from a group of A.C. Reynolds High School students who are asking for a bus connection to the city’s transit system.

Catherine Hunter offers Gypsy Gold a drink of water before his Friday night shift pulling a carriage in downtown Asheville last year. Photo by Virginia Daffron

City Council puts horse-drawn carriage tours out to pasture

Asheville City Council voted to put horse-drawn carriage tours out to pasture with its repeal of an ordinance that permitted commercial carriages downtown. At its April 26 meeting, Council also approved a franchise license that will allow Asheville’s only current carriage operator, Catherine Hunter, to continue operating her business for two years.

A landmark corner distinguishes the main entry into the Phase 1 development from Biltmore Avenue. Image: David Baker Architects

City Council commits $4.2 million to redevelopm­ent of Lee Walker Heights

At its April 26 meeting, City Council approved a rezoning request and committed $4.2 million in city funds to allow the Lee Walker Heights redevelopment project to move forward. Council also approved a Memorandum of Understanding with Duke Energy which gives the city the option to purchase the former Matthews Ford property adjacent to Lee Walker Heights at any time over the next eight years.