Despite the snow, Asheville City Council met Jan. 28, wrapping up its business in an extraordinarily short 19-minute session. With a small agenda, Council passed new lighting and zoning records rules.
To thrive in the uncertain job market of the future, students will need to become proficient with technological tools that are advancing at a lightening pace. And to help them keep up, the Asheville City Schools Foundation is seeking community partners to build off recent successes and overcome a range of challenges. (photo by Jake Frankel)
Initially, next week’s upcoming Asheville City Council meeting, on Jan. 28, promised a showdown over a controversial development near downtown. With that matter withdrawn, however, the remaining items on the agenda are changes to the city’s rules to encourage less light pollution and modifications to development guidelines to bring them in line with new state laws.
On Jan. 1, just to be dramatic about it, my car died. Since then I’ve relied on Asheville’s transit system.
With prospects of a special tax to fund a downtown Business Improvement District unlikely, the board for Asheville’s Downtown Improvement District is officially going dormant. According to a board representative, the members continue to work to accomplish the BID’s goals through other organizations and methods.
Asheville Police Department Lt. Mark Byrd, claiming the city of Asheville’s management and the APD’s leadership retaliated and discriminated against him on a number of occasions, including when his wife filed a sexual harassment suit, filed a lawsuit in federal court Jan. 21.
After nearly a year of debate, Buncombe County commissioners unanimously voted Jan. 14 to spend $40.5 million to build a new Asheville Middle School.
A group, People’s Voice for Transportation Equality, presented an agenda for an overhaul of the Asheville Transit System to make it more responsive to its ridership at a rally this afternoon. The group is calling for late-night and Sunday service, more representation in the decision-making process and more accountability, among other changes. Photo by Michael Carlebach
On Jan. 14, Asheville City Council approved an overhaul of development oversight along with a new infrastructure plan for the River Arts District, Council also created a City-County African-American Heritage Commission and rezoned a small development on steep slopes in North Asheville.
What’s needed to solve Asheville’s housing crunch? Fewer development hurdles, a city “land bank” to preserve property for affordable housing, more density and a hard “target number” for units that need to be created each year— these are some of the ideas to come out of a recent meeting of the Affordable Housing Advisory Committee.
This coming Tuesday, Jan. 14, a group of transit riders and citizens will assemble in Pack Square to call for an overhaul of the city’s system that “prioritizes the needs of the people who use public transit out of necessity.” The group has a 19-point plan to improve transit services and make the management of the system more representative of its ridership.
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.
As part of a major effort to examine Asheville’s lack of affordable housing and possibly overhaul the way city government approaches the issue, the Affordable Housing Advisory Committee interviewed a range of developers to find out why many don’t build affordable housing. They replied that the costs of land, a lack of infrastructure, insufficient transit, city rules inhibiting denser development and neighborhood opposition all play a role in why many of them don’t build more affordable units.
At their first meeting of 2014 on Jan. 7, Buncombe County Commissioners will seek public feedback on a plan to give $1.12 million in cash grants to Jacob Holm Industries to help it expand local operations. They’ll also consider hiring 17 new workers at the Health and Human Services Department, as well as new zoning regulations.
Asheville City Council’s 2013 was marked by financial turmoil, the first major tax hike in more than a decade, the demise of a long-standing festival, and major fights with the Legislature in Raleigh.
It was a historic year for Buncombe County government, as the first Board of Commissioners to be elected by districts took the reins.
A round-up of the five most-read news stories of 2013 on Mountainx.com.
The number of registered voters in North Carolina has increased since 2008 — but more of them are unaffiliated, with both the Republican and Democrat parties seeing losses, a study by the nonprofit Democracy North Carolina concludes. The number of registered Democrats is down significantly.
The tourism industry already brings in $2.3 billion annually to Buncombe County. That’s up from roughly $183 million 30 years ago. But to continue to grow local visitation, government officials and business owners need to “anticipate trends that are shaping the future,” says Mike Konzen, a leading global consultant.
Newspaper boxes are back in the news, with a downtown business owner saying this week that he saw city of Asheville workers removing boxes from a downtown sidewalk late one night, and this morning, some Downtown Commission members questioning the right of newspapers to place their boxes downtown with any legal protection.
About 150 community leaders gathered Dec. 11 to discuss Asheville’s strengths as a tourism destination, learn about new projects in the works, and share ideas for the future.