City Council to weigh in on gun violence

CITY BUSINESS: No public hearings are scheduled, but Asheville City Council has several proclamations and presentations on its agenda for the Feb. 27 meeting. Photo by Carolyn Morrisroe

While the country grapples with the ramifications of yet another school shooting, this time resulting in the deaths of 17 people in Parkland, Fla., Asheville City Council could pass a resolution on gun violence prevention at its Feb. 27 meeting.

The proposed resolution states that more than 150,000 students attending more than 170 primary and secondary schools have experienced a shooting on campus since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999. It goes on to support a national ban on assault weapons: “The City of Asheville calls upon the United States Congress and state legislatures to prioritize the protection of students and school system employees and all city residents by all means necessary, including but not limited to enacting legislation in furtherance thereof beginning with a ban on the manufacturing, transferring and possession of assault weapons.”


City Council will consider three resolutions and proclamations at the meeting: one in memory of the Rev. Billy Graham, one proclaiming March 10 as “Zelda Fitzgerald Day” and one proclaiming March 19-25 as “Asheville Climate Week.”


State Rep. Chuck McGrady is slated to bring his presentation on a new study committee for water and sewer systems before City Council. McGrady, a Republican whose district includes northern Henderson County, has been making the rounds of local government boards recently. He spoke at the Hendersonville City Council on Feb. 6, at the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners on Feb. 20 (see “McGrady talks regional water systems at County Commission”), and at the Henderson County Board of Commissioners on Feb. 21.

McGrady is co-chairing the committee to explore incentives for regionalization of sewer and water systems. This move comes on the heels of a decision by Buncombe County’s Metropolitan Sewerage District in late December to deny a resolution that would have merged the district with the Cane Creek Water and Sewer District in Henderson County. It’s the latest turn in a long fight over local water systems, including a 2014 court decision that overruled a 2011 bill co-sponsored by McGrady to turn control of Asheville’s water system over to the MSD, and a 2016 decision that awarded ownership and control of Asheville’s water system to the city after a 2013 bill co-sponsored by McGrady transferred ownership of the municipal water system to the MSD.

Council will hear an update on the process for the Charlotte Street Innovation District, which was established in 2014 with the goal of improving infrastructure, including widening sidewalks and providing bicycle access. Assistant City Manager Cathy Ball will report on projects that have already been undertaken in the North Charlotte Street corridor, such as installation of flashing speed limit signs, and those that are planned, such as a new crosswalk at Broad and Baird streets.

A year ago, Asheville City Council approved an amendment to the Unified Development Ordinance on the process for Level III development review that effectively brings more potential developments, especially hotels, before Council for approval. The changes state that the following projects have to come to City Council for review: outside the Central Business District, developments 100,000 square feet or larger, with 50 or more residential units and hotel uses including short-term vacation rentals; inside the CBD, developments 100,000 square feet or larger, buildings 100 feet tall or taller, and hotel uses including short-term vacation rentals. The amendment also clarified that Level III development is a use that is only allowed in an expansion district as a conditional zoning application.

A report to be presented to City Council on Feb. 27 states that in the year since the zoning change, six applications have requested a rezoning to an expansion district conditional zone, and all six have been approved by Council.

Council will also receive the quarterly operating and capital budget reports and an update on the city’s strategic priorities, to which changes were made at the City Council retreat Feb. 15-16 (see “City Council prioritizes equity, environment, economy at annual retreat).

Public hearings

No public hearings are scheduled.

Consent agenda

Asheville City Council will take up a number of items on the consent agenda, including the following highlights from the Water Resources Department:

  • A construction agreement for $4.3 million with T&K Utilities Inc. for work associated with the Fairview Area Water System Improvements Project.
  • A construction agreement in the amount of $2.3 million with Buckeye Bridge LLC to lay pipe along Tunnel and Beaucatcher roads as part of the Neighborhood Enhancement Project of the Water Distribution Systems Project.
  • A supplemental agreement with CDM Smith Inc. for $972,537 for the Water System Distribution Projects.
  • A supplemental agreement with McGill Associates PA for $1.1 million for the Water System Distribution Projects.
  • A supplemental agreement with W.K. Dickson for $838,635 for a waterline replacement project.
  • A supplemental agreement with GHD Consulting Services Inc. for $226,644 to replace the roof at the Mills River water treatment plant.
  • A supplemental agreement with Brown and Caldwell for $181,500 for a sodium bicarbonate feed system replacement project at the North Fork Water Treatment Plant.

Also on the consent agenda, Council will consider a budget amendment to accept $200,000 from the developer of The District, a mixed-use development on Fairview Road. When the project was approved in 2015, it included a condition that the property owner pay that amount to improve connectivity in the surrounding area. A check for that amount was received in March 2016, and staff have now nearly completed determining which improvements to make.

It’s getting close to the time of year for festivals, and in preparation, Council will decide whether to approve possession and consumption of malt beverages and/or unfortified wine at the following events: SoCon JamFest on March 4, Asheville City Market on Saturdays April 7-Dec. 15, Run for the Paws on April 22, Asheville City Soccer Club games from May-July, Brews and Bears on May 11, July 13 and Sept. 14, Asheville VeganFest on June 10 and Hola Asheville on June 23.

Public comment

Council will hear comment from members of the public on items not previously discussed on Council’s agenda.

Asheville City Council meets at 5 p.m. in Council chambers on the second floor of City Hall at 70 Court Plaza, Asheville. The full meeting agenda and supporting documents can be found here.

For more of the latest city and county news, check out XpressBuncombe Beat.


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About Carolyn Morrisroe
Carolyn Morrisroe served as news editor and reporter at Mountain Xpress. Follow me @CarolynMorrisro

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16 thoughts on “City Council to weigh in on gun violence

  1. Lulz

    LOL will they personally go door to door and confiscate them? Cowards in government fo further than Broward County. Pathetic.

  2. Me

    What is an “assault weapon”? Anything used to assualt someone.

    What is an “assualt rifle”? According to Google:

    “a rapid-fire, magazine-fed automatic rifle designed for infantry use.”

    Yeah…those are already HIGHLY regulated and incredibly hard to obtain.

    More opportunity for the leftist council to grandstand while doing what they do best, be incredibly ignorant on firearms.

    • Lulz

      LOL they assume the 1994 ban actually banned them. It didn’t. All it did was remove bayonet lugs and flash hiders. The mechanical aspects of the rifles sold during the “ban” were completely identical to the ones sold before and after it.

      They play on ignorance. And that they wish to take away the rights of citizens because of the failure of government is so evil that these people are traitors to the Constitution. They don’t belong in government. They belong in jail.

      • Me

        Deceptive information? What deceptive information? It’s cute when people, who’s only knowledge of firearms comes from biased left wing “news” sources, try to talk about guns.

        Semi automatic weapons account for nearly all weapons sold in the United States, including handguns and most “hunting” rifles. The AR-15 is no different.

        The article compared the AR-15 to handguns. Of course the velocity is higher in the AR, as with any other rifle. Do you want to ban all rifles? The caliber the AR-15 uses (.223/5.56) is NOT a big round AT ALL. It is a glorified varmint gun. There are far larger rounds that are commonly used. That argument is completely irrelevant.

        My 9mm Glock 19 always has hollow point bullets in the magazine. I would MUCH rather be shot with my AR than the Glock.

        Knee jerk reactionary articles from sources like theatlantic are entirely opinionated and only spread even more misinformation.

        • luther blissett

          “Deceptive information? What deceptive information?”

          Quoting “Google” to imply that it means fully automatic weapons.

          The conversation is about semi-automatic rifles that combine high velocity energy, high-capacity and rate of fire, and low recoil.

          The AR-15 is popular because it is designed to inflict critical injury on lots of people very quickly. Now, for 2A folks, that’s a defense against “tyranny” and an implicit threat against anybody contemplating confiscation (see top comment) but it also makes it a weapon of choice for mass murder. So gun-bore away about whether your right to own tools that efficiently pulverise vital organs outweighs the right of people not to have those organs pulverised.

          • !

            Again, more misinformation. Where to begin…

            Anything can technically be considered an assault weapon, but lets move away from that since the discussion is going nowhere.

            “The conversation is about semi-automatic rifles that combine high velocity energy, high-capacity and rate of fire, and low recoil.”

            High capacity? Most semi auto weapons can hold extended magazines. For instance, I have a 30 round mag that fits my 9mm pistol. Even if such magazines didn’t exist, do you know how quickly a magazine can be changed? seconds.

            Rate of fire? Dude….all semi automatic weapons fire at the same “rate of fire”. It is as fast as you can pull the trigger. One squeeze = one pew.

            Low recoil? What does that have to do with anything? If it pleases the crown, might we fire our weapons accurately without hurting our shoulder?

            “The AR-15 is popular because it is designed to inflict critical injury on lots of people very quickly”

            Really? The AR-15 is the most popular rifle platform in the USA. Do you seriously think the majority of us buy them so we can “inflict critical injury on lots of people very quickly”? Absolutely not. They are popular because they are fun to shoot, easy to shoot, and an excellent choice for home defense and hunting (and because it pisses off the Marxist crowd).

            “Now, for 2A folks, that’s a defense against “tyranny” and an implicit threat against anybody contemplating confiscation (see top comment) but it also makes it a weapon of choice for mass murder.”

            Yes, the 2nd Amendment was written as a defense against tyranny. And guess what? It has worked.

            And, yes, people are suggesting confiscation. Which will never work. I dare someone to come for mine….make my day.

            Mass murders? Anything can be used for that. Vehicles, rifles, handguns, explosives. If some idiot wants to cause mass casualties, they will find a way. Legal or not (see drugs)

            “So gun-bore away about whether your right to own tools that efficiently pulverise vital organs outweighs the right of people not to have those organs pulverised.”

            Have you even looked at ballistic tests? Check out what a .30-06 can do. Or handguns (which kill WAAY more people) with hollow point ammo. Better yet, look at what a shotgun (psst…they come in semi auto too) can do. Wanna talk about pulverizing organs? That is the firearm you would want to choose, yet nobody is talking about wanting to ban those – because that crowd of people consists of those with vastly uninformed opinions.

          • Lulz

            LOL what did the 1994 ban actually ban?

            Again, leftist have to lie, misinform, and manipulate.

          • luther blissett

            “an excellent choice for home defense”

            Uh huh. Against what: the zombie apocalypse?

            “and hunting”

            Uh huh. If you’re a terrible lazy hunter. But you’ve decided to bore us again.

            “I dare someone to come for mine….make my day.”

            Thanks for admitting that you’d feel confident using your semi-automatic rifle to dispatch anyone who wanted to take away your semi-automatic rifle. I rest my case.

  3. bsummers

    Wow. In the middle of his fourth scripted appearance this month, trying to reassure people about his water/sewer plans for the region, Chuck McGrady totally let the cat out of the bag:

    Councilmember Julie Mayfield: “It seems to me that what I’m hearing you say is that we’re past the time when anyone is looking to force a transfer, or a takeover, or otherwise seize or remove control of the City of Asheville over its water system?”

    Rep. Chuck McGrady: “No, I have absolutely NO interest in going down that road… (pause.. two… three) unless I’m forced.”

    Ooooh! Whatta giveaway!

  4. Enlightened Enigma

    ARM the teachers! at least those with firearms they carry already!

    better yet, get your children OUT of government screwls as fast as you can!

    • Lulz

      LOL, where will all the single moms send their kids to???

      Leftism created this culture of lunacy in order to grow power for itself.

  5. James L. Smith

    Well, let’s just look the other way and ignore the violence City Hall does to its own code of city ordinances, the violence City Hall does to our residential neighborhoods by commercializing them into motel strip malls so that outsiders sneak in to make big bucks, the violence City Hall does to elderly Asheville citizens by imposing on them despicable special collections and charges and fines and penalties, the violence City Hall perpetrates on its laughable claims of transparency, the violence City Hall does to our Bill of Rights, the violence City Hall does to legitimate dissent, and the violence the nest of cronies at City Hall — by coddling their special pals — do to the guarantees, in the Fourteenth Amendment, of the equal protections of the laws, and due process of law.

    [purloined from another forum]

  6. Enlightened Enigma

    hey, did ya’ll know that good ole Uncle Joe Biden introduced the schools GUN FREE ZONES bill before the US Senate in 1990 ? yep, good ole Joe …

  7. Pat Orsban

    Only the victim can stop a killer, before a predator kills their victim.
    Only the victim can do that safely, because only the victim is next to the killer. The police have to shoot thru you to get to the killer.
    Only the gun allows the most helpless to stop the most predatory.

    Yet for some reason, many well meaning ignorant people feel that disarming the victims (no gun zones) and violating the law abiding (gun control) will somehow make our students safer. These efforts only make the killer safer.
    Hell, these same people actually do protect criminals (sanctuary cities) so forgive me if I ignore any of their insane advice.
    We should do what they have been doing in Utah for the past ten years.
    Be more PRO CHOICE.
    Teachers in Utah have been allowed the choice of bearing arms to protect their students, for ten years, and damn, no mass shootings. And no accidental gun injuries.

    It is time for some of the people in NC to be more Pro Choice.

    Pro Choice for an action that actually saves lives.

    Be Pro Choice.

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