Asheville City Council approves a stormwater plan and endorses public finance of elections

At it’s June 8 meeting, Asheville City Council:
• endorsed a state bill that would allow the option of public financing of elections and
• approved enforcement rules and penalties for its new stormwater-plan, voting to require undisturbed 30-foot stream buffers while not approving the requirement of larger buffers.

Four Council members may have violated North Carolina’s open meetings law when they met at Pack’s Tavern after the Council session. State law considers any gathering of a quorum of elected officials to be an official meeting. Council member Esther Mannheimer said that the gathering was purely social and therefore would not be a violation of that law.

Hopeful signs?

Staples displayed the proposed design changes for its Merrimon Avenue façade in a Jan. 28 press conference called by company executives and Mayor Terry Bellamy. Both camps aim to settle another festering issue in the long-running and often acrimonious debate about the city’s interpretation and enforcement of the Unified Development Ordinance. Staples and Greenlife Grocery […]

The long goodbye

Efforts to end the long-running controversy surrounding Greenlife Grocery and its Maxwell Street neighbors have been plagued by repeated fits and starts and false hopes of a final resolution. But now that Superior Court has dismissed Maxwell Street resident Reid Thompson‘s lawsuit against the city and Greenlife has come up with a plan to take […]

No change

It’s been a year since professor David Owens of the School of Government at UNC-Chapel Hill formally presented the Asheville City Council with the results of his detailed review of three controversial development projects (see “Asheville City Council,” Aug. 30, 2006 Xpress). Council members had asked Owens to assess the situation after the Coalition of […]

Overlooked violations?

When the city goofs: Newly planted trees fill in for a mature woods that once screened the Campus Crest development from nearby residences — woods that were cut down because, as Planning Director Scott Shuford put it, he didn’t do “a very good job of communicating that.” photo by Cecil Bothwell. In a sense, Asheville’s […]

The (non)enforcers

“The Planning and Development Department staff respects the Unified Development Ordinance and makes reasonable interpretations within the authority entrusted in them.” – Planning & Development Director Scott Shuford Looming problem: Use of the Greenlife loading dock requires large trucks to park illegally within a UDO-mandated sight-visibility triangle. photo by Jodi Ford A review of three […]

Overseeing the overseers

A growing movement toward citizen oversight has emerged in Asheville that could foreshadow a significant change in enforcement of Asheville’s development regulations. Increasingly, activist groups are tackling development along the Merrimon Avenue and Haywood Road corridors, where road traffic is being matched by burgeoning e-mail traffic within neighborhood organizations such as the Montford and Five […]

Squeezing in more open space

A proposed retooling of the open-space requirements in Asheville’s Unified Development Ordinance could lead to more parks, more greenways, maybe even more sidewalk cafes surrounding denser housing and commercial developments in the city. That’s the hoped-for result of a proposal Planning and Development Director Scott Shuford presented to a wary audience of local developers at […]

Nothing but the truth

At the outset of every conditional-use-permit hearing held by the Asheville City Council, City Clerk Maggie Burleson whips out the Bible. Sure, some Council meetings would try the patience of a saint. But Burleson isn’t seeking solace in scripture — she wields the Bible because North Carolina law requires it. It’s a sight familiar to […]