While an undisputed highlight of living in Western North Carolina is proximity to the great outdoors, there’s something to be said for one’s own backyard. (Better bathroom facilities, for one.) Chances are that during the COVID-19 pandemic, many families have spent more time outside than usual. This year, the best holiday gift might be a […]
Countless existing structures of every shape and size remain vacant throughout the city, many in decrepit condition after years with no occupants. According to the National Association of Realtors’ Q3 2021 Commercial Real Estate Metro Market Report, 26% of Asheville’s currently available commercial space is vacant, including industrial, multifamily, retail and office properties.
“Many items that are now standard construction practices have been removed from our checklist, while we have added opportunities to gain points for new technologies,” explained Maggie Leslie, the nonprofit’s program director.
The Asheville-based nonprofit Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy’s work included both valuable wildlife habitats, such as the Wiles Creek and Little Rock Creek preserves, and prime farmland at risk of development. Sandy Hollar Farms in Buncombe County and Bowditch Bottoms in Yancey County were among the agricultural projects completed in 2020.
For many environmental organizations across Western North Carolina, COVID-19 fell like a lightning-struck tree across the path to progress. But like an intrepid hiker, WNC’s activists and organizers have bushwhacked new trails for action in the world of the pandemic.
The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners will vote on a resolution to adopt LEED Gold standards for new public facilities over 10,000 square feet and major renovations. The county’s policy would also require all new buildings to be constructed with solar-ready design and achieve net-zero energy use “where feasible.”
Asheville City Council will take a brief respite from conversations about policing and budgets to consider new standards for tree canopy preservation at its meeting of Tuesday, Aug. 25. Three public hearings will address different parts of the proposed standards.
Commission Chair Laura Hudson argued that the rules placed too much emphasis on tree protection and could become an untenable burden for developers. “If you jam too many requirements onto one small parcel, I think you’re going to kill the development altogether,” she said.
According to a staff report available before the Tuesday, Jan. 21, meeting of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, design of the project’s Riverside Drive segment had initially been estimated at $660,000, with 80% of the cost to be covered by federal grants. That projection, however, covers just 40% of the now-finalized price for laying out the greenway.
Many public commenters urged the commissioners to act even more decisively on transitioning away from fossil fuels in the context of climate change. Chloe Moore with the Sunrise Movement referenced a scientific paper, published earlier that day, in which over 11,000 scientists from 153 countries declared a “climate emergency” and warned of “untold suffering due to the climate crisis” if stronger measures were not taken.
Canadian sustainable building expert Chris Magwood will offer three workshops featuring hempcrete at A-B Tech Friday-Sunday, Sept. 6-8. The series is part of seven learning opportunities taking place at A-B Tech and Lenoir-Rhyne University through Wednesday, Dec. 11.
Republicans Mike Fryar and Robert Pressley, as well as Democrats Amanda Edwards and Al Whitesides, stood against the 1.05-acre rezoning, while Democrats Brownie Newman and Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, along with Republican Joe Belcher, gave their approval. The county planning board had recommended against the proposal, citing concerns over steep slope development.
More than 30 bands on three stages plus classes covering everything from aquaponics to regenerative agriculture practices are on the schedule for the three-day festival.
“Building a Climate-Resilient Asheville,” debuted during a June 19 meeting of the city’s Sustainability Advisory Committee on Energy and the Environment at The Collider, focuses on practical steps individuals can take to reduce their vulnerability to extreme weather.
With flat land at a premium, how can new housing developments arise to accommodate the influx of new Ashevilleans without sacrificing water quality or the majesty of unspoiled vistas? Some conservationists say the answer lies with “sustainably developed” neighborhoods.
“Rain barrels don’t catch much, but you can do an open-ground dry stream with stone and a creek bed,” explains Steve Ambrose about the craft introduced to him by friend and business partner Rafael Moreno-Baron. “It will last forever, and you can build it with stuff you found onsite.”
On Tuesday, Jan. 8, Council will hold a public hearing on how to reallocate nearly $1.4 million in HOME funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Two other public hearings concern conditional zoning modifications for residential developments, including a 137-acre project on Ferry Road.
The Land Use Incentive Grant point maximum will increase from 140 to 200, with every 10 points worth a rebate of one year of city property taxes above a property’s pre-development total. But developers will also face stricter conditions when applying for LUIG money: The minimum period for which a project must guarantee affordable housing will increase from 15 to 20 years.
The self-guided tour will feature a wide range of garden designs established both at older homes and newly constructed residences.
Area Realtors and architects are paying close attention to the effects of climate change on the built environment — and gaining new skills to help clients consider climate-related issues as they make real estate decisions. The Asheville chapter of the American Institute of Architects is hosting a conference, titled “Where Building Science Meets Climate Science,” at The Collider on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 2-3.
Rooftops offer businesses the opportunity to turn under-utilized space into blooming (and buzzing) food-production spots.