At City Council’s Nov. 13 budget work session, four department directors spoke about their troubles with obtaining bids on service and construction contracts, recruiting qualified employees and retaining current staff. Burgeoning activity in other parts of the economy, they said, had created stiff competition for workers.
With amounts ranging from $3,000 to $6,000, the grants may seem small but can have a huge impact on growing farming operations.
Due to construction cost increases that made rentals infeasible, the Kassinger Development Group proposed a for-sale condo plan. Of 64 total units, 33 would be affordable, with the city providing support through a $1.28 million Housing Trust Fund loan and a $375,000 discount on the land itself.
If City Council votes to approve the proposed Charlotte Street Improvement Project, the road would be cut from four car lanes to three, making room for dedicated bike lanes and pedestrian improvements. Should Council approve the plan, bidding for construction is projected to begin this winter, with construction to start next spring or summer and finish by fall.
When invasive plants reach into productive “rich coves” like Sandy Mush, they can choke out much of the region’s native biodiversity. Endangered and sought-after plants such as yellow mandarin, black cohosh and wild ginseng, as well as thousands of other species of native plants and animals, can be at risk.
As a sacred fire burns, two holy leaders from Canada will share insights gleaned from their lives as resilient survivors and indigenous leaders at the Voices of Wisdom gathering near Weaverville Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 17-18.
Robert Pressley, incumbent Buncombe County commissioner for District 3, was the only Republican to win a county race in the hotly contested 2018 midterms. Buncombe County Democratic Party Chair Jeff Rose said the party’s unprecedented midterm voter outreach had helped propel Democratic candidates to wins in nearly all local contests.
Watch this space for the latest election results and commentary from the Mountain Xpress news team. The post will be updated regularly throughout the evening.
From 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., polls will be open throughout the region for citizens to decide who represents them in key local, state and national offices, as well as if six amendments will be added to the North Carolina constitution.
The new facility’s planned retirement is in 2059 — 17 years after Buncombe County government’s 2042 goal of transitioning all homes and businesses to completely renewable energy. Jason Walls, Duke Energy district manager, said his company is committed to helping local governments achieve their goals but that the new plant’s construction is based on forecasts of growing energy needs.
In place of its current small business and retail tenants, the Flatiron Building could play host to overnight guests as an 80-room hotel. Owner Russell Thomas and Charleston, S.C.-based developer Philip Woollcott say lodging use is the only business model able to support extensive needed renovations to the historic structure.
Todd Okolichany, Asheville’s director of planning & urban design, said the city’s Unified Development Ordinance was in need of an extensive and holistic review. While the city has made “Band-Aid edits,” he explained, the last major revision of Asheville’s main development code took place in 1997.
District Wine Bar hosts a paella and Spanish wine fundraiser for Asheville Music School. Also in this week’s Asheville food news, GO Kitchen Ready students present their Showcase Dinner, the Acornucopia Project offers a nut foraging class, Hickory Nut Gap Farms hosts Sausage Fest, Marshall gets ready for its second Fermentation Festival and much more.
Craig Harper with the University of Tennessee notes that negative public perception about prescribed burning generally arises from a lack of understanding about how fire benefits the landscape. “Many people will argue for increased diversity on national forests, but they don’t want disturbance,” he says. “If you don’t have disturbance, then it is impossible to have increased diversity.”
Michael Waldvogel, an extension associate professor at North Carolina State University who specializes in urban and industrial pests, says Asheville’s booming restaurant scene and ongoing construction create the right conditions for a spike in rodent activity.
On Oct. 20, local giving circle CoThinkk held its third annual community award night at The Collider in downtown Asheville. “Standing In We: Rooted in Collaboration” celebrated the region’s work toward ensuring more equitable outcomes for communities of color, particularly the efforts of African American and Latinx leaders to cultivate change.
After Mayor Esther Manheimer and Council members Keith Young and Brian Haynes shared their intent to reject the project, attorney Wyatt Stevens pulled the building from consideration on behalf of his clients, local hoteliers Pratik Bhakta and Monark Patel.
Carl Mumpower, chair of the Buncombe County Republican Party, encourages voters to support the six amendments. In contrast, both Democratic and Green party leaders aim to “nix all six,” while the Libertarians support only a lower constitutional cap on state income taxes.
The resolution would commit city government to meeting all of its energy needs from 100 percent renewable sources by the end of 2030. A previous version also called for all energy demand in the city to make the renewable transition “as soon as practicable,” but this goal is absent from the language Council will vote to approve.
“It’s like the playing field that everyone’s playing on — that the economy’s playing on, that companies are playing on, that the government’s playing on — that playing field is starting to erode,” says Josh Dorfman, CEO of The Collider in downtown Asheville. “I think there’s more on the line than many people understand.”
“Oh happy day,” proclaimed Council member Sheneika Smith after the unanimous appointment vote for the city’s most powerful unelected official. “As an organization, as a city, and even the county is rejoicing today.”