WATER PARK  WNC's tourism industry has focused on developing attractions that highlight the region's natural features, says Stephanie Brown of the CVB. Photo courtesy of Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau

Balancing local tourism’s costs and benefits

With an annual economic impact of $2.6 billion, tourism is a critical industry in Western North Carolina. But politicians and local residents are increasingly asking whether the tourism industry is paying a fair share of the cost of providing everything from sidewalks to roads to public safety to tourists. Now, City Councilman Gordon Smith is pushing for a new study to consider the local tourism industry’s impact and sustainability.

Buncombe County paid $6.8 million for 137 acres on Ferry Rd. in hopes of landing Deschutes Brewery. The Oregon-based beer maker eventually tapped Roanoke, VA for its East Coast expansion.

David Gantt releases timeline, documents on Buncombe-Deschutes negotiatio­ns

In the aftermath of Buncombe County’s two-year effort to convince Orgegon-based Deschutes Brewery to build its East Coast expansion here, some critics have questioned the strategies employed. Buncombe County Commission Chair David Gantt released today (March 30) a timeline of events and supplemental documents correlated to Deschutes’ decision.

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Affordable housing catch up: special coverage essays, all parts

The quest for affordable housing: an introduction to the essay project and the Bowen study showing the problems Asheville and surrounding communities face on the affordable housing question, by Tracy Rose. The following essays are part of a series in which local experts were asked: “What would it take to solve the Asheville area’s affordable […]

Portrait of CIBO: Council of Independent Business Owners rallies Asheville business community-attachment0

Portrait of CIBO: Council of Independen­t Business Owners rallies Asheville business community

The Council of Independent Business Owners has been called a lot of things over the years.

Few could argue that the nonprofit — whose members serve on such powerful public bodies as Asheville’s City Council and Planning and Zoning Commission, the Western North Carolina Regional Air Quality Agency’s board and the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners — lacks influence. But how far does it reach? And does the group still have the kind of impact that it did in the past?

Gantt’s views on workplace equality were misconstru­ed

I read a puzzling comment from Tim Peck on the Aug. 21 online article, "Commissioners Approve Personnel Ordinance, Reject LGBT Protections (see the article and comment at http://avl.mx/ji). I think it’s important that people understand Chairman David Gantt’s position at Tuesday’s Buncombe County Board of Commissioners meeting. My understanding is that the motion put before […]

Buncombe Commissioners vote ‘no’ on mobile homes; Byrd challenges Gantt for board chair-attachment0

Buncombe Commission­ers vote ‘no’ on mobile homes; Byrd challenges Gantt for board chair

At their Feb. 21 meeting, Buncombe County commissioners denied a rezoning request that would’ve allowed more mobile homes in Reynolds and approved $50,000 for a job training program. Dr. Milton Byrd also announced that he’s going to try to unseat incumbent Board Chair David Gantt by running against him in the May 8 Democratic primary.

The big deal: Linamar will bring almost 400 jobs to Asheville

County buys Volvo plant. County sells Volvo plant to Linamar Group, a Canadian manufacturer, the following year. Asheville gives Linamar $2.2 million in incentives over four years. Buncombe puts up $6.8 million in incentives. North Carolina pitches in $9 million. The hoped-for results? Almost 400 jobs for the Asheville-Buncombe area that pay, on average, more than $39,000 a year.

Governor Bev Perdue announces Linamar’s expansion. Photo by Jonathan Welch