Is downtown safe?

Is downtown Asheville becoming more dangerous? The answer seems to depend on whom you ask. Holding steady: Violent crime downtown is not on the rise, Patrol Lt. Wally Welch asserts. photo by Jonathan Welch Downtown resident Naydeehn Messier has no doubt about it. “I definitely feel as though it’s getting worse,” says Messier, co-founder of […]

Asheville City Council

City jumps on board 51 Biltmore project Fireworks planned to gin up restaurant patronage Living wage not ready for prime time Police chief debriefs after Palin rally It’s hard to find a conversation these days that doesn’t somehow reflect the current national economic climate. The trend held true for the Asheville City Council’s Oct. 28 […]

Asheville’­s Copwatch rolls out

Last November, Citizens Awareness Asheville, an organization of community activists concerned about purported excesses and misconduct by local law enforcement, announced the formation of a “Copwatch” program. Such programs, active in cities including Los Angeles, Berkeley, Houston and New Orleans, involve volunteers going around neighborhoods on foot patrols, monitoring the activities of the police. Just […]

ACLU questions publicizin­g prostituti­on arrests

The Asheville Police Department’s new online Police Blotter, which publicizes prostitution arrests, has come under fire from the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina. The Raleigh-based group challenged the practice in a March 6 letter to Assistant City Attorney Curt Euler. “With regard to the posting of arrestees’ names and photos on the police […]

The writing on the wall

The brick walls and wooden fences at the now-abandoned McCormick Heights housing project tell a sort of a story: Simple spray-painted messages in muted or faded colors reveal a running dialogue between local gangs, each entry scrawled on top of the preceding one. In this particular case, notes Detective Louis Tomasetti of the Asheville Police […]

Asheville City Council

Created in 2001 to encourage high-density, mixed-use development, the “urban village” zoning designation is still experiencing growing pains. In 2006, City Council raised the maximum allowable height of buildings in such districts from 80 feet to 150 feet. The change came after Biltmore Farms pleaded its case for a 12-story hotel at its Biltmore Park […]