Chris Pelly

Chris Pelly

Age: 48
Residence: Haw Creek
Occupation: Real-estate broker
Years in Asheville: 15
Education: Arizona State University
Political party: Democrat
Political experience: Ran for City Council 2003; president, Coalition of Asheville Neighborhoods 2004 to present; president, Haw Creek Community Association, 1995 to 2004

What most distinguishes you from your opponents in this election?

“I am experienced and have a track record of success addressing a range of growth-and-development issues. I have successfully led efforts to bring a park and sidewalks to Haw Creek as well as led the Coalition of Asheville Neighborhoods in addressing zoning, water and development-related issues.”

Should the city build the Battle Square parking deck as planned?

“As proposed, I do not support the current plan. Additional downtown parking is needed, but I believe we can meet the needs of that section of downtown without building a six-story, $20 million deck.”

If City Council must fill a vacated seat after the election, will you vote to appoint the next highest vote-getter? Why or why not?

“Vote totals should be the most important factor in filling the vacated seat but may not be the only factor. City Council should have a small degree of flexibility if, for instance, final vote totals are extremely close or if some unforeseen circumstances were to arise.”

Should the city enact height restrictions on new downtown buildings? Why or why not?

“We may want to consider height restrictions in the immediate area around City/County Plaza so as not to obscure views of City Hall or the Buncombe County Courthouse. In general, however, I do not see a need for height restrictions at this time.”

What changes (if any) would you make to expand public input in city meetings, plans and policies?

“Keep the public better informed … by broadcasting not only City Council meetings but also Council work sessions and Planning & Zoning and Water Authority meetings. Also, move meeting times of boards and commissions to more public-friendly hours. Finally, don’t cut off public input if additional input is requested.”

Would you vote to increase the salaries for Council members (currently $11,927) and the mayor (currently $16,223)? Why or why not?

“No. Voters and Council should, however, remain mindful of ensuring that the current salary is not preventing otherwise highly qualified candidates from stepping forward to serve.”

Would you vote to extend insurance benefits to unmarried domestic partners of city workers? Why or why not?

“Yes. … Major corporations such as IBM and Disney as well as cities such as Charlotte and Raleigh are [doing this, and it’s] the right thing to do. … My marriage has conferred legal benefits to my wife and me; … committed domestic partnerships [should also] have acknowledged legal standing.”

Should the city require developers to post performance bonds to ensure that permit conditions are met?

“The city needs to make certain it enforces … the UDO. … Violators routinely ignore regulations and are rarely, if ever, fined. A performance bond would have ensured consequences in the Montford Campus Crest fiasco in which the developer removed a buffer of mature trees after promising [to preserve them].”

What do you think the recent primary results tell us about current political trends in Asheville?

“Five of the top six vote-getters [are] promoting progressive solutions. … [Voters] aren’t satisfied with present leadership; [they] want a City Council that will protect our natural beauty and quality of life and [get to work on issues such as] the Civic Center, water system and sidewalks.”

Name an unsung local hero or heroes — someone or some group that is performing significant public service with little recognition.

“The WNC Green Building Council is successfully transforming local building practices by providing practical information [on] incorporating a range of energy-efficiency techniques into new and existing homes. Made up of many selfless individuals willing to share their time and expertise, the WNCGBC is a vital community resource.”

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