SOCIAL SOLUTIONS: Senior Police Officer Doug Sheehan, along with others members of the Asheville Police Department Housing Unit, attend a Johnston Elementary School ice cream social. Local officers devote time and energy to socializing and trying to build relationships in the face of broad disillusionment in black communities. Photo courtesy of APD

Culture clash: Facing up to Asheville’s troubled police-community relations

The task of establishing and/or re-establishing trust between vulnerable communities — especially people of color — and the Asheville Police Department will be a challenging one. And especially in the wake of controversial police use of force over the summer, there is vocal criticism of the department. But the way Chief Tammy Hooper sees it, the APD must rise to that challenge.

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.

Shuvonda Harper works out of the Edington Center on Livingston Street. Harper uses new facilitation techniques to  encourage inclusive self-governance in the Residents Council of the Asheville Housing Authority. Photo by Virginia Daffron

Beyond stalemate: New decision-making models foster better solutions

Can new ways of structuring the rules that govern how organizations gather information and make decisions help our community move beyond entrenched positions and polarizing rhetoric? Some local consultants say yes, and point to local organizations that are already using new tools to increase participation in developing and implementing solutions to challenging issues.

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.

Asheville City Council Preview: HUD Grant applications, rezoning, and a massive Consent Agenda-attachment0

Asheville City Council Preview: HUD Grant applicatio­ns, rezoning, and a massive Consent Agenda

If the agenda for tonight’s Asheville City Council meeting is any indicator, things could move along quickly at City Hall. Council is expected to take up a conditional zoning request for a portion of a lot containing Trinity United Methodist Church at 587 Haywood Road in West Asheville, a resolution supporting the city being a co-applicant with the Asheville Housing Authority for a Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant, and a massive 19-item Consent Agenda