Image by Steph Guinan

Thinking big: Buncombe County plan points way toward sustainable future

“In North Carolina, sustainability plans are pretty rare,” reports Scott Mouw, recycling director at the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. “Not many communities have taken on the task of comprehensively looking at their environmental footprint and worked through ways to reduce that footprint.” In fact, Buncombe County is one of only a handful in the state to have such a plan, unanimously adopted by the Board of Commissioners May 15, 2012. But what is it, exactly? And what does it mean for current and future residents?

Commissioners approve $50,000 for Mountain Bizworks microloans on party line vote-attachment0

Commissioners approve $50,000 for Mountain BizWorks microloans on party line vote

Buncombe Commissioners voted along party lines April 1 to give Mountain Bizworks $50,000 toward a new microloan program that will help small local businesses get needed capital. The local business nonprofit will leverage the county funds to receive an additional $300,000 from the federal Small Business Association Microloan Program.

The group behind the I-26 push-attachment0

The group behind the I-26 push

After being off the radar for years, both the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners and Asheville City Council are voting to push the Asheville section of Interstate 26 connector forward. This new push is in part the result of a small group of local officials and leaders who have met to draft a new resolution and make some sort of I-26 overhaul a reality.

Buncombe Commissioners approve incentives, new hires, zoning regulations-attachment0

Buncombe Commissioners approve incentives, new hires, zoning regulations

At their first meeting of 2014 on Jan. 7, Buncombe County Commissioners unanimously agreed to give $1.12 million in cash grants to Jacob Holm Industries to help it expand local operations. They also agreed to spend $213,726 to hire 17 new county workers at the Health and Human Services Department and approved new zoning regulations governing renewable energy facilities.