Saluda Grade line in Saluda

Green in brief: Nonprofits plan conversion of Saluda Grade into trail

The path, running along an inactive railway, would stretch about 31 miles northwest from Inman, S.C., through Tryon and Saluda before terminating in Zirconia, about 7 miles southeast of Hendersonville. Hendersonville-based Conserving Carolina; Greenville, S.C.-based Upstate Forever; and Spartanburg, S.C.-based PAL are leading the effort.

Ashley Woods entrance

How do traffic impact studies shape developmen­t decisions?

Traffic studies, which are required by the state and the county for certain projects, are prepared by engineering firms to forecast additional traffic associated with a development and identify possible problems. But some neighborhood groups question the benefits of research paid for by the very people who stand to benefit from a proposed project.

A closer look at Buncombe’s commercial property assessment­s

Issues of racial and economic equity dominated the debate over residential valuations, with critics arguing that Buncombe’s practices are unfair to low-income residents and communities of color. While those issues aren’t immediately apparent with commercial property, suggests ad hoc committee member Ori Baber, other deficiencies with county assessments likely do carry over from the residential side.

Poverty rate graphics for Buncombe County

Buncombe leaders talk rising poverty, county economy

According to data presented by Tim Love, Buncombe’s director of economic development and governmental relations, the county’s poverty rate went up from about 11.5% in 2018 — its lowest point in a decade — to about 13.9% in 2020, the latest year for which information was available. Poverty in both North Carolina and the overall U.S. fell over the same period.

Enka Commerce Park new plans

Developmen­t roundup: Enka Commerce Park requests change of plans

Enka Partners of Asheville requests an amendment to the conditional zoning on 45.5 acres on Enka Heritage Parkway to allow for new site plans. Because a tenant expected to lease the space — widely suspected to be online retailer Amazon, according to the Asheville Citizen-Times — backed out, the plans have been redesigned to call for over 585,000 square feet of spec space.

French Broad in Transylvania County

Green in brief: Morrow Landing to offer new French Broad access near Brevard

The land, purchased by Conserving Carolina, falls roughly halfway between the current Island Ford and Hap Simpson Park access points, which are separated by nearly 10 miles of river. Morrow Landing’s placement will therefore facilitate shorter trips by less experienced river users and improve access for emergency responders.

Coxe Avenue redesign

Developmen­t roundup: South Slope Vision Plan up for review

The plan, to be considered by Asheville’s Planning and Zoning Commission July 6, contains ten key initiatives, including a gateway to reconnect McCormick Field and Memorial Stadium with downtown, public art installations, commemoration of the neighborhood’s African American history, affordable housing and transforming Coxe Avenue into a tree-lined “green Main Street.”

Urgent care centers and the debate over advanced practice providers

As of this April, 26 states and the District of Columbia had granted nurse practitioners full practice authority — the ability to diagnose and treat patients without physician supervision — according to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. And if the N.C. General Assembly passes the SAVE Act, North Carolina will join that list. The bill, reintroduced in March 2021, is currently in committee and has bipartisan support.

217 Hilliard Ave floor plan

Council approves grant for downtown microhousi­ng

Of 80 microhousing units, 16 would be designated as affordable for people earning at or below 80% of the area median income. However, developer David Moritz confirmed that market-price rent for all of the project’s units would be about $1,000 including utilities, meaning that the city-subsidized units would not immediately be cheaper for their tenants.