FUTURE VISION: At the city planning department’s offices, Planning Director Todd Okolichany reviews documents with staff. Planner Stacy Merten, left of Okolichany, is the staff lead for the comprehensive plan update project. Photo by Virginia Daffron

The road ahead: Asheville launches comprehens­ive planning process

Asheville’s last comprehensive city plan was completed in 2003. Since then, the city has gained 16,000 residents and embarked on a wide range of revitalization, infrastructure and multimodal transportation projects. Now it’s time to begin a new planning process that will span a year and a half and involve a broad cross-section of the city’s residents.

City Council votes on a community visioning process as next step on Haywood Street parcels. Photo by Virginia Daffron

What’s next for Haywood Street site?

One clear winner from the 2015 City Council elections: local hopes for a public space for the city-owned lots facing the Basilica of St. Lawrence and the U.S. Cellular Center. Not so clear: exactly what kind of space Asheville needs and who will pay for it. The city’s Planning and Economic Development committee took up the hot potato issue to try to figure out how to move forward.

URBAN FOREST  Unaware of the controversy over their fate, 23 mature oaks stand on a knoll overlooking Coxe Avenue. Photo by Virginia Daffron

Oaks’ last stand: South Slope urban forest won’t get city funds

If the 23 mature oak trees at 11 Collier Ave. on Asheville’s South Slope are to escape the chainsaw, it will have to be without the city’s help. While City Council followed through on its commitment to explore possible strategies for preserving the urban forest, in the end Council decided that committing resources to the effort in advance of significant private fundraising wasn’t a responsible use of taxpayer assets.

Following a moment of silence in remembrance of former Councilman Marc Hunt's son Taylor, Boy Scout Troop 91 led the Pledge of Allegiance. Photo by Virginia Daffron

City Council to take steps on expanding Homestays, planning for park

In its first full meeting since three newly-elected Council members were seated, City Council moved in new directions on a public space for a city-owned lot on Haywood Street and on including some accessory dwelling units in the city’s homestay ordinance for short-term rentals. Council also considered downtown development review standards and passed a resolution on the I-26 connector project.

Asheville City Council: To Moog or not to Moog

Asheville City Council passed $90,000 in incentives for Moogfest this evening, both in cash and services, with the possibility of a partnership continuing for years. However, while its proponents touted it as an important investment in the city’s future growth, one Council member asserted that it’s an unreasonable amount of taxpayer dollars to go to an event not entirely open to the public.

Election results: Manheimer Asheville’s next mayor; Wisler, Smith, Bothwell win Council seats-attachment0

Election results: Manheimer Asheville’­s next mayor; Wisler, Smith, Bothwell win Council seats

With all precincts reporting, turnout in the Nov. 5 city of Asheville elections was low, but the results were decisive. Vice Mayor Esther Manheimer defeated former city risk manager John Miall by a considerable margin to become the next mayor. Former Coleman CEO Gwen Wisler, along with incumbents Gordon Smith and Cecil Bothwell, also won Asheville City Council seats by a large number of votes. Photo by Nick King.

The Halloween Voter Guide to Asheville City Elections-attachment0

The Halloween Voter Guide to Asheville City Elections

With Halloween and the Asheville city elections so closely aligned, we offer both some scary art (by cartoonists Brent Brown and Randy Molton) and the candidates’ replies to five key questions.
Come midevening on Nov. 5, Asheville voters will have picked their new mayor and three City Council members. There are two mayoral candidates and five Council contenders (of whom two are incumbents). In a series of forums, what positions have the candidates taken? How have they responded to voter questions? Look for recent stories at mountainx.com/election, and check these excerpts from the candidates answers.