Asheville bars man from city buildings

A Maxwell Street resident known for railing against Greenlife Grocery’s use of that street has been barred from Asheville city buildings without a prior appointment — and an escort.

Reid Thompson, who for the past few years has regularly hounded City Council to enforce rules regarding the unloading of delivery trucks across the street from his house, received a letter dated Nov. 6 from City Manager Gary Jackson that reads, in part:

“I regret to inform you that you are prohibited from visiting all City owned buildings without a set appointment made with [the] City Manager’s office and accompanied by an escort.”

The letter goes on to say the restriction applies to all city properties, including City Hall, all recreation areas and the Asheville Civic Center.

Though the letter cites “continued inappropriate behavior and comments to City Staff on November 5, 2007, “ Thompson says he is confounded by the measure and has not gotten specifics about what event the letter refers to.

“If I have done something, tell me what I have done,” he told Xpress. Thompson says his only interaction with city staff on that day was with an Asheville Police officer who he called to check on a break-in at one of his rental homes.

A previous letter, from City Attorney Bob Oast to Paul Bidwell, an attorney for Thompson in his case against Greenlife, reads in part: “members of the City staff have advised me that Mr. Thompson has on several occasions confronted them about the Greenlife/Maxwell Street issues and behaved in a manner that has caused them to be concerned for their safety.” That letter, dated Oct. 22, warns of further action if more complaints are reported about Thompson.

Neither the City Manager Gary Jackson nor Assistant City Attorney Curt Euler would give specifics in the case, citing legal issues like confidentiality and the possibility of further legal action by Thompson. But, Euler told Xpress, “Some of the behavior borders on the criminal.”

Jackson said the restriction was imposed in order to “provide for the safety of city employees,” and said that similar restrictions have been meted out to others in the past. The process, he said, involved a recommendation made by the city’s safety committee.

Meanwhile, Euler is stressing that the notification does not constitute an outright ban, but rather restricted access to city facilities. “It requires you give prior notification before you come by,” he told Xpress.

For Thompson, the experience feels like another attempt to get him to back down from his fight to get the city to take action in the Greenlife matter. “They are just trying to put something else on my plate,” he said. “They are trying to distract my attention.”

— Brian Postelle, staff writer

 

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92 thoughts on “Asheville bars man from city buildings

  1. lokel

    Mr. Thompson is banned from all City property?

    How is this legal?

    He is legal citizen, and unless threatening, he should be allowed go where he wants.

    Go get’em Reid!

  2. travelah

    He may be a legal citizen but he will likely be a legally jailed citizen if he ignores the letter. psst …. he apparently WAS threatening according to this short article.

  3. Nam Vet

    If he was threatening, why not take legal action rather than this “ban”? Like charge him and let him have a day in court? Sounds very heavy-handed to me. And although I love to go to Greenlife, I can empathize with his predicament. That is a rather narrow street that the trucks use. It is sad that Asheville government has allowed some development to happen even though it violates it’s own zoning and planning guidelines, like with the Staples monstrosity. I suspect the reasons are these: 1) greed for tax revenues, 2) and the mistaken idea that we have to grow Asheville into a town Manhattanites will be proud of. Much of the development that has been allowed should have taken place more on the outskirts of downtown. Can anyone say “Ellington”?

  4. Joey

    I have actually witnessed several exchanges with police pertaining to Greenlife. My favorite one was when a police officer stopped to inform Reid that the city moved a no parking sign to include his truck parked adjacent to Greenlife’s loading dock.

    We all know what’s going on here. Of course I’m somewhat jaded when it comes to city government.

    I grew up under the Daley machine in Chicago. My father had a friend who worked for the machine. When they retired him to raise race horses in Wisconsin, my dad took me up to see the ponies. He asked the man how he liked politics in a small town. He took his cigar out of his mouth long enough to rasp, “Big city politics can’t even hold a candle to what goes on in small towns.”

    My other favorite thing going on is Worley selling ABC stores because they are in “inconvenient locations”. Aren’t they in prime real estate locations with large parking lots(ie. large parcels of land? And can a liquor store be in an inconvenient location?

    Yep. We ALL know what’s going on. And I might add that Council and the City of Asheville deserves better than Ouast. Although he is somewhat entertaining when he’s clearing his throat and shifting in chair as he’s lying before God and everyone.

    Sorry to ramble so…Cecil – Follow the money!

  5. Mike Bryant

    Anyone up do speed on Mr. Thompson’s fight with the City of Asheville will know that he is being maliciously taunted by the City for filing his lawsuit against the City, the Asheville Police Dept, and Greenlife Grocery for clear violations of local zoning, corruption in local government, obstruction of justice, as well as State and Federal Laws regarding discrimination, civil rights violations and due process. So what does the city do? break more laws by banning the man from speaking at City Counsel meetings or protesting on the courthouse steps. Where’s the ACLU when you need them? At this pint I imagine the City will wrongfully arrest him for some trumped up false charges to make his case stronger and further exemplify business as usual in Asheville. Anybody commenting on this situation needs to get all the facts straight first. Some names to look for in the news are former Mayor Worley, John Swann, Scott Schuford, Gary Jackson, present mayor and all of current City Council Officials and of course Bob Oates….whoops I guess I let the cat out of the bag! The City is persecuting him publically because he is in the right and will win his lawsuit in NC Supreme County Next year.

  6. wjell

    Just another attempt by the City of Asheville and City Council to cover City blunders or corruption. How many years have they been doing the baloney dance on this issue? Can any local government possible be this ineffective, brainless and incompetent?

    I also grew up in Chicago and can tell you this city is probably as politically corrupt as Chicago. The only difference is that there is practically NO investigative journalism (maybe WLOS’s Carolina Kitchen should consider a new format) and NO state or federal investigation and prosecution of what is going on here.

  7. Unit

    Some of these posters need to get a life. Yes, I am sure it is all one big conspiracy. And I do mean all of it. Greenlife is actually a tool of the Bush adminstration to punish Reid for voting against him in the elections. And it actually goes deeper than that, with roots in the Nixon administration, Elaine Lite’s loss, the Kennedy assassination, and the fall of Rome – too complex for me to explain right now.

    And yes, Reid definitely has a criminal record, including several arrests relating to confrontations with Greenlife. But let’s not get confused by reality – stick with the conspiracy theories.

  8. Joey

    Does John Swann have criminal record? You know just because Greenlife is a PC business doesn’t make it beyond the law.

  9. wjell

    Hey, UNIT.

    Watch the video and then let’s hear your drivel about “conspiracies”. This has been going on for YEARS.

    All that ever happens is Asheville City Manager “marshmallow fluff” Jackson does the baloney (tap) dance.

  10. lokel

    You can bet your lucky stars that if this was going on on Kimberly Avenue, or somewhere in one of the “Biltmores” (park, lake, glen etc.), or blocking the entrance of one of the CONDOS downtown, these trucks would be out of there in no time!

    Why will the Police not enforce the signage/laws on the books in this neighborhood?

  11. Wally McLendon

    The city has lost its mind. Reid is not a danger to any city employees!

    Enforce the city laws and Reid will have no reason to visit city buildings. The ban includes the Civic Center…. You have got to be kidding.

    To his credit it was Reid Thompson and not John Swann who cleaned up Maxwell St.

  12. Nam Vet

    Wow. I watched the Utube video. Proof positive. And the guy above who mentioned that if this was happening on Kimberly or out in Biltmore the law would be enforced. Right on. The video shows that when the City ignored it’s own zoning rules, and refuses to enforce the signage laws on that street, that it selectively chooses which laws to enforce.

    I think a compromise here would to allow unloading of the trucks ONLY between 7:00am and 9:00 am BEFORE the store opens, and have the trucks use the Greenlife parking lot for entry, unloading, and exit. This would keep them completely OFF the residential street Maxwell.

  13. Unit

    It’s too bad Greenlife’s success has a negative impact on the adjacent neighborhood – it really is. I can’t help but wish success for an organic food store near downtown – every community wishes they had one. Does Reid have valid complaints? Obviously, yes. But consider the possibility that Reid is the source of most of his problems. In every life, some rain must fall. The question is how you handle it. A ban on public facilities suggests he hasn’t handled it very well.

  14. wjell

    “A ban on public facilities suggests he hasn’t handled it very well.”

    Guilty until proven innocent, right? You should work for the city.

    *** ASHEVILLE – WHERE THE CIRCUS IS ALWAYS IN TOWN (SPECIAL SHOWS ON SELECT TUESDAYS) ***

  15. BonkersDad

    I know of one time Reid was arrested in connection to Greenlife. Reid had called the police because of trucks illegally parked and blocking the sidewalk. The police came and pulled slightly into Greenlife’s parking lot. When Reid came over to talk with them they arrested Reid for trespassing. Of course the trucks were not cited.

    Per the city information officer, there have only been only 3 tickets given to trucks delivering to Greenlife out of I would estimate 4000 truck deliveries.

    Back in July 2005, Chief Hogan delivered a letter to Reid stating that he won’t enforce laws on Maxwell St like trucks blocking the sidewalk as long as they are really big and did their best to get into the too small dock. See http://www.ashevillecan.org/Development-Woes/GreenLife/Police-Refuse-to-Enforce-Law-on-Maxwell-St..html

    One of the reasons Hogan cited when CAN (coalition of asheville n’hoods) met with him was lack of police resources…but 3 police officers were available to guard Reid for two hours this week at the CAN meeting at the Oakley Community Center. I felt much safer.

  16. wjell

    Does it just seem like we have the best City Council and City Staff that developers and businesses in Asheville can buy?

    Let’s commission a study!!! That trick always works.

    *** ASHEVILLE NEEDS LEADERS WITH VISION – NOT LEADERS THAT HAVE VISIONS ***

  17. concerned

    This issue is out of context, precisely how Greenlife would like for it to be.
    It isn’t about Reid, or what he has done, it is about what City Council has not done and that is to enforce the laws. When people get caught up with John Swan and Reid Thompson, they are missing the point. Maxwell Street is getting done wrong! That is clearly the point.
    Reid isn’t looking for credit, he is looking at debt. This could not be pleasurable for him, nor his bank account. He is getting hit twice, once by decreasing property values (or at least opportunity cost) and again by the lawsuit. Not to mention all the drama he is surrounded with. Whether one chooses to believe he is looking for it or not (at the present), the fact is Reid was on Maxwell Street before Greenlife, and it is Greenlife that came looking for it.

    I can personally attest to the fact that John Swann lacks character, morals, and overall concern of the neighborhood. Money is about the only thing this man has going for him. At least Reid has passion and concern for the neighborhood.

  18. ted

    I know Reid and he is no threat to anyone’s physical well being. The ban is absurd. I don’t see how some administrator can take this action. It seems law enforcement would have to be involved in some way. Anyone know where there is a law to allow this type of ban?

  19. Bob Harris

    This move by the City may be the best thing that could happen to help Reid achieve some resolution. Years have gone by, yet the City has found no legal way to quiet Mr. Thompsons’ complaints. His home seems to have been illegally violated with the City’s blessing. Politics at its finest. But now more people know…..

  20. The Greenlife location on Maxwell Street was built to be a grocery store. For many years it was an A&P;store (we used to get Jane Parker fruitcakes there about this time of year).

    On top of that, cities by their very nature are commercial hubs. One must expect delivery trucks and the like. If you don’t like truck noise then move to the country. It’s a whole bunch quieter out here.

  21. travelah

    Thank you Ralph. It would appear that people have forgotten or never truly experienced what it means to live in the downtown area.

  22. lokel

    travelah you and Ralph are both missing the point.

    The City has signage that indicates NO TRUCKS on this street which is zoned, ON BOTH SDIDES as residential.

    The City has issued a notice of compliance to Greenlife which has been ignored since issuance in January of this year.

    Swann says he has done all he can do until the lawsuit files by Thompson has run its course, and the City has indicated as late as last night that they are going to CONTINUE TO DO NOTHING until the dismissal they filed against Thompson is resolved.

    So the residents of Maxwell Street continue to endure the situation.

    By the way- I do not think the A&P;had a loading dock in the same location that Greenlife added their dock.

    Also, City ordinances suggest that there be a 20 foot buffer between the dock and the street, there is not.

  23. concerned

    Mr Roberts,
    NIMBY
    That is the case. Itis easy for you in your elder years to live in the country. Your concern isn’t getting kids to a good school, trying to cut your greenhouse emissions by walking to get to: work, school and run errands.

    Yes the A&P;did operate here (two decades ago), then it closed, residences bought here and it was at the time a low traffic VHP, now it is a high traffic (input and output) hub. We were here before Greenlife. And still you are missing the point. It is about the laws.
    It isn’t about Reids’ criminal record or any of the residences criminal records, it is about the laws that were created to protect its citizens from this sort of atrocity. Greenlife’s criminal record (if you will) or perhaps the city’s record of not enforcing its laws.
    You should keep in mind that there was flora and fauna that occupied the area your country home was built on. They were there before you and your home has severely degraded their habitat, just as Greenlife has ours. That doesn’t mean that we can’t build a residence (or store) and co-habitate and live harmoniously together, whether in the city or the country. It just requires that we have care and concern for the beings that are affected. Whether it be Greenlife or you in your country home, we are all in this web together and we must create symbiotic relationships to sustain us all.
    I am sure your area was a lot quieter before the noisy construction of your house and all that you bring with you. Do you consider this or do you justify it by saying “I am sure that centuries ago Native Americans inhabited this area so it is o.k that I am here now” regardless of the fact that your structure impacts the habitat entirely different than the Native Americans’ did then.
    I appreciate your attention to the matter, I wish for your understanding.

  24. Nam Vet

    On the Utube video, a “no trucks” sign is clearly shown, with “no parking” as well in the area where these large semi truck trailers unload. I don’t blame the man because Greenlife was not there when he bought his house. I like the compromise I put forward above. Allow deliveries only during store-closed hours and have the trucks enter and exit through the parking lot from Merrimon Ave.

    Bob Harris is right. This latest move has got people scratching their heads about how the city could do this legally. I thought we had a “progressive” Council? I thought “progressives” embrace “protesting”. More and more people are reminded of this travesty of banning this man from city property…even including the Civic Center.

    It’s ironic that the APD spends a lot of time doing the Highway Patrol’s job out on I-240 and I-40 rather doing their job in town. They should be ticketing those who violate posted signage, and they should be keeping the bums, drunks, panhandlers, prostitutes, and drug dealers OFF our streets. Or perhaps the APD is just a personal police force who does the City Council’s bidding, regardless of which laws are being broken.

  25. Joey

    So let me get this straight…a man is supposed to sell his home. HIS HOME! Put up or get out!

    HIS HOME!!!!!!

    Because some chichi health food store hired the mayor as his lawyer and was allowed to violate UDO and thumb his nose at ALL THE RESIDENTS OF MAXWELL STREET!

    Honestly.

  26. what?

    Good idea, we should all move to the country! This way we could increase our vehicle miles traveled (VMT) even greater. This rural movement would help tremendously with our soil degradation issues, our greenhouse gas emissions and our forest fragmentation. We would no longer waste time worrying about flora and fauna, there would be none. We wouldn’t be concern with sidewalk improvements because no one would be using them. Greenlife wouldn’t be an issue because there would be no one left to negatively affect.
    You appear to be very shortsighted and fairly unconnected to the overall reality. Maybe your time is nearing on this earth, but there are others who are looking to find solutions for future generations and urban sprawl is by no means a solution.
    I bet you and your neighbors were really bummed when the power plant in your neighborhood was decided against huh?
    You offer no solutions, therefore you become part of the problem. Another opinionated citizen with no real facts to support any of your ideas. As an author, I recommend you do some research, that is what your profession is all about right?
    Post a real solution, or at least something thoughtful not some bogus “get over it or get out”. Looking at your bio, I know you are capable of substance, provide it please.

  27. Gee, ‘what?’, I wuz only offering an individual solution not the plot for a new Al Gore movie. That hardly deserves a personal attack. Chill down a little, guy.

  28. tatuaje

    UNbelievable…the nerve of that cop in the video…”go get your own badge..”???? And the Swann fellow talking about making all his money?!?! That completely disgusted me and is the perfect example of the sickness that’s eating society from the inside out. An owner of an independent “green” grocery store, a person in the community that you would think you may be able to look to stand against the onslaught of destructive corporate greed, and he’s no better than the worst, power-hungry ceos of wall street. I think Nam Vet has a good compromise…….This guy Reid is getting railroaded…Greenlife is in the wrong and so is the city…period. I, for one, am going to start calling the cops EVERYTIME I see a truck parked illegally on Maxwell…And never forget the power of a good old fashioned BOYCOTT…

  29. what?

    A solution is found when a balanced view of a issue is entertained and the weaknesses of the issue are well defined and strategies to overcome these weaknesses are processed. Then the mitigation process starts. To overcome the issue, one must not run from it ie. just sell their house and move. Be a critical thinker and offer some real ideas to overcome the issues ie. move the loading docks away from the residential side of the building and put them in line with the commercial access, create the 20′ mandatory buffer, move the fence back and vegetate as is mandatory, reduce the noise of the compressors as mandatory under policy, etc. etc.
    These are not only mandatory but feasible solutions.
    KEEP IN MIND, Mr. Thompson is one of at least 50 neighbors that are negatively impacted by these blatant obstructions to justice. ONLY ONE! And besides this is setting a precedence for the thousands of potentially affected neighbors of this vastly growing community.

  30. I n I

    It sounds like he is asking city employees question that make those in superior postions uncomfortable. Lets see,was Charles Worley mayor and greenlifes attorney?Do city employees know this? What codes/ordinances/UDO guidelines and applicable rules were not adhered to? Who requested any variance? Was it granted? Why? How many, and did it follow the proper chain? These are probably a few of the questions Mr Thompson is asking.

  31. travelah

    lokel, I have a better solution. Let the city take down the signs and the business can continue doing what it has done for years before the offended gentleman ever moved into the neighborhood.

  32. Government abuse?

    CITY COUNCIL’S INACTION ABBREVIATED VERSION.

    8/22/06
    Owens reports to that GreenLife is inconsistent with the requirements of the UDO and Council agreed with the report.
    11/14/06
    Council agreed that GreenLife should submit a plan of action to change their loading.
     1/16/07
    GreenLife was given 30 days to come back with a plan and submit a plan for correction.
    2/27/07
    GreenLife proposed a schematic of a plan and said they’d like to work out.
    8/28/07
    Council held on passing a resolution to traffic calm Maxwell Street because GreenLife didn’t submit their plan, asked Staff to add parking to Maxwell, and gave 45 for GreenLife to submit their plans or Staff was to bring a plan of action to Maxwell Street.
    9/13/07
    Parking reinstalled on Maxwell Street.

    10/12/07
    The 45 day deadline passed, GreenLife hadn’t submitted, nor did Staff bring a plan for Maxwell Street

    10/30/07
    Staff removes parking on Maxwell Street.

    Apparently some people are above the law and enforcement. I thought this Council ran on the need for enforcement.

  33. Aliasjoe

    Actually, Reid was there before GreenlIfe was in the picture. Also, to respond to “l n l”, the approvals the City gave to GL are indeed “variances” from the law. In order to approve a variance (according to the law) there needs to be a public hearing in order to approve.

    There was never an open public hearing on this project. Plenty of conversation, but there never has been a hearing of the fact of the case and an approval under the requirements of due process of a variance. In other words, the approval cannot stand because Staff does not have the authority to grant variances administratively.

  34. SeeingThrough FogMakers

    A voters’ guide to Asheville’s Oct. 11 election

    by Brian Sarzynski in Vol. 12 / Iss. 1 on 10/05/2005

    5. City staff have documented several recent cases of developers violating the Unified Development Ordinance or conditions of their permits, but no fines have been issued. Should these rules be more strictly enforced?

    Holly Jones “Absolutely. I have pushed for this on Council (ex. Campus Crest clear-cutting), but enforcement is still too slack. We need a majority of the members on Council to make enforcement of our ordinances and following through with the commitments we make to the community a priority.”

    Terry Bellamy “We need to enforce conditions on developers who violate the UDO. … I support developing an online tool where people can report issues and then see the status of their report.”

    Robin Cape “Absolutely.”

    Bryan Freeborn “Yes. In addition to issuing and collecting fines for violations, we should require developers to purchase performance bonds. These bonds set an up-front value on complying with the UDO and let developers know we’re serious. They’re proactive, encouraging compliance over the ‘It’s easier to ask for forgiveness’ mindset of violators.”

    Carl Mumpower “City staff has been instructed, as a matter of clear policy, to persistently enforce our ordinances. Contrary to some information outlets, there is no dramatic pattern of developer violations in Asheville. When these occur, there should be consistent, significant and mandated consequences.”

    Charles Worley “The UDO should always be enforced.”

    It sounded good when they were running for office. Now they’re plan is to rezone
    Greenlife in to compliance. It makes sense, Greenlife has the money and the neighbors don’t.
    Fine progressive government we got here in Asheville.
    I say, good ol boy, got a new face. He’s progressive now.

  35. wjell

    Why just ban him from certain public areas? Why not tie him up and force him into the cargo hold of a Greyhound bus leaving Asheville? Why not have APD throw him into jail indefinitely?

    It is amazing how these elitist “progressives” sprout their tolerance of everything…THAT THEY HAPPEN TO APPROVE OF. People that they are intolerant of have no constitutional rights in their eyes.

    Really pretty scary when you think about it. What could the City of Asheville and City Council do to YOU if they decided to…without even a court order?

    ASHEVILLE – WHERE THE CIRCUS IS ALWAYS IN TOWN (SPECIAL SHOWS ON SELECT TUESDAYS)

  36. SeeingThrough FogMakers

    8/22/06
    Owens reports to that GreenLife is inconsistent with the requirements of the UDO and Council agreed with the report.
    11/14/06
    Council agreed that GreenLife should submit a plan of action to change their loading.
     1/16/07
    GreenLife was given 30 days to come back with a plan and submit a plan for correction.
    2/27/07
    GreenLife proposed a schematic of a plan and said they’d like to work out.
    8/28/07
    Council held on passing a resolution to traffic calm Maxwell Street because GreenLife didn’t submit their plan, asked Staff to add parking to Maxwell, and gave 45 for GreenLife to submit their plans or Staff was to bring a plan of action to Maxwell Street.
    9/13/07
    Parking reinstalled on Maxwell Street.

    10/12/07
    The 45 day deadline passed, GreenLife hadn’t submitted, nor did Staff bring a plan for Maxwell Street

    10/30/07
    Staff removes parking on Maxwell Street.

    11/13/07
    Council continue to delay action. Moved to Council agenda November 27.

    Mayor Bellamy said: she would fix Greenlife and Staples in her inaugural address.

    Two years later still NO PUBLIC HEARING. Lots of talk but NO HEARING.

  37. SeeingThrough FogMakers

    Our government… teaches the whole people by its example. If the government becomes the lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy.

    Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis

  38. Elodie age 10

    We should switch places, (Mr.Roberts and others).Or what if Greenlife was in your front yard,loading docks in front of your yard,smelly dumpsters, and beeping noises at all hours. I myself does not want to go outside because the smelly dumpsters and big LOUD TRUCKS! PLEASE THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK! I’m just a kid who has to follow rules why can’t big businesses follow rules too.
    THANK YOU!

  39. Nam Vet

    Ralph I am surprised at your reaction here. You usually are measured and logical. Yet you tell those who buck the city council’s “progressive good ole boy network” to move? HUH? Geez, rethink your position man. And the post above that details city council’s remarks concerning Greenlife are so right on. Mouth one thing, but act another. I’m glad we at least got comrade Brien Freebum out of there. Now if we can just vote out the other fauxprogs: Holly “Volvo” Jones and Robin “I’m a yankee transplant bent on changing Asheville into what I left” Cape. The re-election of Brownhole Newman we can live with eventually, after his support network is voted out. Local pols, WALK YOUR TALK OR BOW YOUR HEADS AND GET OUT OF TOWN.

  40. Nam Vet bro, my comment was more oriented toward lifestyle. If one chooses to live in the city, you must put up with city stuff. Me, I choose to live in the country and life is good…

    in fact, for my philosophy on city vs. country dwelling I invite all of you folks to view:

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=WmBWftWictg

    that’s mah story and I’m a sticking to it. ;-)

  41. “We should switch places, (Mr.Roberts and others).Or what if Greenlife was in your front yard,loading docks in front of your yard,smelly dumpsters, and beeping noises at all hours. I myself does not want to go outside because the smelly dumpsters and big LOUD TRUCKS! PLEASE THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK! I’m just a kid who has to follow rules why can’t big businesses follow rules too.
    THANK YOU!”

    Just playing devil’s advocate here. Say you move into a house and you are right across the street from a vacant retail or industrial building, say, an A&P;. Even though it’s been empty for years would you not think that it would some day be used again, and along with that traffic, dumpsters and noise?

    I’m saying that either side is right or wrong, but let’s not kid ourselves. Many of us live in what’s considered an urban environment, and with that comes all the good and bad involved. I used to try to sleep every Friday night to the sounds of race car engines, but I knew what I was getting myself into before I moved in.

    marc

  42. ted

    orbit… yeah, people should assume there will be some noise in an urban environment. That is not the real issue here.

    The issue is that everyone has to follow the laws. If they stay within the law, nobody really has room to complain. They have not stayed within the law. If the sounds of the race cars that kept you awake were from an illegal racetrack, you would have had an issue.

    The laws are there so people can know what to expect and can know what they are getting into. When people break the law, you no longer know what you are getting into with your neighbors.

  43. concerned

    Marc,(not wise to be political with your business name attached you may have lost business, after all it is the little people being done wrong and those are your customers)
    For starters I realize you are playing devils’ advocate, and I also realize that you aren’t aware of the facts surrounding this situation. So to help you understand the situation I will give you some facts:
    1:It was not vacant, it was VHP (a home health care organization), and the grocery store had been closed for a decade.
    2: There was not the loading dock that you see now, Greenlife built those (without proper authority).
    3: City Ordinances does not allow for there to be loading docks to be built on residential streets, Maxwell is and was a residential street.
    4: Large truck traffic is prohibited from Maxwell, hence the signs. As a matter of fact, most of the mid size trucks and vans are above the legal weight limit. Obviously the city doesn’t enforce their own laws on this, or allows people to buy the ability to create their own laws. These laws have and will not stand in court once the issue is heard, the only professional that has been consulted on the matter, Dr. Owens, has clearly held the belief that these loading docks and this commercial traffic is against the rules that the city laid out.
    5: Same goes with dumpsters,they are not to be positioned on residential streets. There are a lot of other rules concerning how much they have to be covered etc., etc. these are for the most part ignored as well.

    So you move in and a few years later the mellow office across the street goes vacant. ok a couple years later you are approached by someone who is telling you they are going to put a health food store across from you and he shows you shiny pictures of all the landscaping, the loading docks on the adjacent side of the building, no dumpsters or even talk of it, only talk of the cafe on your side, etc., etc..
    SO you look into your rights and find out that you are totally protected by the city, your on a residential street right?
    Heck you may even get excited, I eat healthy food after all.
    THEN COMES REALITY!!
    What they have done and are doing is illegal. When buying property, people should look into these things, and they should trust that these ordinances are the truth and the only way they can change is through a public process. The residences were never given a public process, and still haven’t been given this due process.

    I will leave you on this thought, you are an adult and you chose to move in next to a race track, you had a choice.
    The article you are responding to was written by a 10 YEAR OLD CHILD, and did you read the final comment?
    “I’m just a kid who has to follow rules why can’t big businesses follow rules too.
    THANK YOU!”
    How do you respond to that?
    I appreciate the perspective, I am sure in your own right you would not be ok with a Blockbuster going in across the street, after all it is an empty parking lot.

  44. BonkersDad

    Orbit DVD wrote “Say you move into a house and you are right across the street from a vacant retail or industrial building, say, an A&P;. Even though it’s been empty for years would you not think that it would some day be used again, and along with that traffic, dumpsters and noise?”

    The Greenlife site has not been an A&P;or grocery store for 20 years. The UDO was enacted 7-10 years ago. The City Attorney argued (stalled) for a year or more that the site was grandfathered for the loading dock. Professor Owens from the Institute of Government gave a very short definitive NO that it is not grandfathered. I doubt Reid has any problem living next to a grocery store…but he obviously does have problems with 70′ tractor trailers on a residential street. The UDO is very specific that if Greenlife has access from a commercial street that they can’t use the residential street for deliveries. Professor Owens was pretty clear in his report and testimony that Maxwell should be considered a residential street and not have commercial truck traffic. So just because you live in the city does not mean that your neighbor and city officials can ignore the law. The city granted multiple variances to the law without any due process (i.e. there was never a hearing in which Reid could make an argument). Nothing short of ridiculous.

  45. Aliasjoe

    Sounds like Marc is willing for everyone to have free DVD’s at Orbits!!! Woo hoo! Why pay? Would Marc prosecute if I happened to walk out with a bunch of merchandise? Marc, maybe you should accept shoplifting as an urban problem? Would Marc be peeved if I decided to park my truck on the sidewalk in front of his main door? Maybe we should try it out and see how long it takes Marc to get his panties tied in a knot and call the police? Oh yeah, there are LAWS against that stuff. But I guess Marc isn’t harmed because he didn’t invest in a neighborhood before GreenLife moved in (and yes Marc, the laws are clearly on Reid’s side). Afterall, not only is Reid’s house on that street, but so is his business. He owns several properties that are his life’s investment. So Marc, how bout it? When are you starting the free DVD giveaway in solidarity of the “little guy deserves to be screwed” campaign?

  46. “Sounds like Marc is willing for everyone to have free DVD’s at Orbits!!! Woo hoo! Why pay? Would Marc prosecute if I happened to walk out with a bunch of merchandise? Marc, maybe you should accept shoplifting as an urban problem? Would Marc be peeved if I decided to park my truck on the sidewalk in front of his main door? Maybe we should try it out and see how long it takes Marc to get his panties tied in a knot and call the police? Oh yeah, there are LAWS against that stuff. But I guess Marc isn’t harmed because he didn’t invest in a neighborhood before GreenLife moved in (and yes Marc, the laws are clearly on Reid’s side). Afterall, not only is Reid’s house on that street, but so is his business. He owns several properties that are his life’s investment. So Marc, how bout it? When are you starting the free DVD giveaway in solidarity of the “little guy deserves to be screwed” campaign?”

    All this already happens.

    marc

  47. theworldcontinuestogrow

    So if i am 1 block from the highway in downtown asheville, am I naive to believe downtown will not grow.
    FACT- Worley was John Swann’s lawyer BEFORE John Swann ever invested in Greenlife.
    Fact- I being a Greenlife employee for 3 years have seen behavior that would be considered “threatning” by Reid Thompson and groupies, one example-shooting a compound bow into our back fence to be a punk, while putting employees in danger.
    FACT- I have seen Reid strategically place 2 of his 3 vehicles on MAXWELL weekly for 3 years, though many houses away from his own,to make it difficult for drivers to pull in.
    So he could film the cluster of chaos he created to benefit him.
    FACT-There is a 4 story condo being built like 10 feet behind his house. Is someone upset that downtown is closing in all around him?
    Question- Does this guy have a job or has he ever had a job?

    GREENLIFE IS IN THE MIDST of Downtown PEOPLE!

    I have seen this guy blow up like a red puffer fish freaking out and screaming in the street and heard about him being irrate at local bars. He is a bid intimidating spewing saliva and cursing Greenlife’s name all over town.
    Obviously this guy needs a life purpose, or a vacation. I agree there are issue to be worked out, but his additude is ridiculous.

    You can all read all thses comments and believe everything you hear, but as momma should have told you….THERE ARE ALWAYS TWO SIDES TO EVERY STORY.

  48. reidssecretlover

    So anyone who has an opinion like marc from orbit gets attacked?
    This is why the city is probably fed up with reid and joe, they freak out and attack others who do not agree with them.
    Way to get supporters guys.
    Maybe they should just tear down Greenlife and put a super walmart there. Walmart could refigure the loading dock, put it on the front, and WAH-La!
    Problem solved.
    We don’t need local buisnesses who support local products or organizations on REID’s street.
    MAXWELL NEEDS A SUPER WALMART. Thats what we really need.

  49. Joey

    It’s all rather ridiculous, really. I guess rule the of law is out the window on this one. Most people would throw up their hands and say, “You can’t find city hall”. Let’s see what the court date brings.

    In the mean time, isn’t it nice that the city wants to keep Reid safe by providing him with police escort around town.

    Maybe he should he hire his own security…couple of big guys armed with super soakers to protect him from the “Pail and Shovel Party”.

    Walk softly and carry a big shovel.

    For all the bull puckey.

  50. MassDebates

    Hey fog machine…
    isn’t this article about REID GETTING BANNED FROM CITY BUILDINGS?

    not Greenlife or J Swann.

    Exactly how many assault charges does Reid have again?
    What?
    I can’t hear you?
    What? I can’t see you because you keep throwing links in my way.
    Isn’t this about REID BEING BANNED from CITY BUILDINGS?
    My Master wears black latex and carries an inviting whip. You only wish you knew her too.

  51. theworldcontinuestogrow

    Of course you were going to come off rude and condesceding.
    So because I have a love of healthy food, local food, and helping conscience people in our community, John Swann is my master?
    hmmmmm.
    my feelings are really hurt, and my points I made are completely invalid now.
    You really hit me where it hurts man. Ouch.
    I am going to cry in the organic produce now.
    sniff sniff.
    PUH-LEEZE!

    “He who establishes his argument by noise and command shows that his reason is weak.”
    -Michel de Montaigne

  52. joey

    Obviously “theworldcontinuestogrow” and “reidssecretlover” have not listened to the recording of John Swann losing it or watched the damning videos on you tube.

    Three years…you said it “grows”…my patience would be wearing a little thin if I had to put up with all this bull puckey for THREE YEARS!!!

    “We don’t need local buisnesses who support local products or organizations on REID’s street.”

    No one needs a business that takes such a warped sense of propriety on anyone’s street.

    PR is a powerful tool, but, you can’t fool all the people all the time.

    John Swann is not a good person. Just ask the guy at the Montford Neighborhood
    Association meeting whose eleven year old daughter went in to buy ice cream with a hundred dollar bill. (I seem to remember an audible gasp in the room.) Shortly after Greenlife was doing everything it could at damage control over that one.

    Were you the offending store clerk that Mr. Swann defended?

  53. Joey

    “This issue is out of context…It isn’t about Reid, or what he has done, it is about what City Council has not done and that is to enforce the laws. When people get caught up with John Swan and Reid Thompson, they are missing the point.”

    “Concerned” is right. This is not about two personalities who obviously do not get along.

    This is about a persons rights being violated. Some thing we have young men dying for. Let’s all step back a minute and try to remember the real legal issues here.

  54. woohoo

    get your facts straight.
    john swann is not the sole owner of greenlife.
    he is just a partner.
    he doesn’t own the majority of the company either.

    This should be about UDO violations and the city, not greenlife as a buisness.
    Also about rights and Reid Thompson.

    I think it is wrong that Reid and his crew, bad mouth Greenlife as a company. Greenlife is a small business who have been willing to try to work things out between MAXWELL residents and the city. I heard the court case against them and the city is what has held them up to change their loading docks at this point.

    John swann is just one person at Greenlife, I know a few people who work there, and really like it, love what Greenlife does and love the community prescence there.

    I would hate to see a good business get a bad reputation because of factors out of their control like our shifty city council.

  55. lokel

    The City is not shifty (at least in this case)….. the Police are refusing to enforce the laws.

    The signs clearly indicate no trucks on Maxwell Street.

    The UDO also requires a 20 FOOT buffer zone between the residential and commercial properties in the type of zoned area that is Maxwell Street.

    The real question here is: Why isn’t someone making Greenlife follow the laws; both zoning and traffic signs?

  56. woohoo

    ok, how is a garbage truck supposed to come down the street to pick up your trash or Greenlife’s trash if not even smaller sized trucks are allowed to come down Maxwell?

    I don’t believe the sign on Maxwell indicates whether it is a tractor trailor, garbage truck or a small box truck.
    So if the city has not clarified what the sign is supposed to be enforcing, do you expect the cops to arrest a city employee for picking up the trash?

    How can cops enforce laws that haven’t been clarified or interpreted?

    I also have heard that tractor trailors are not allowed down that street and Greenlife has notified all the drivers from all their companies of that fact. That is why you see the huge tractor trailors coming through their parking lot now.

  57. Joey

    Woohoo – You’re right. And by the same token it is not right for Greenlife employees to bad mouth Mr. Thompson.

    The court case against the city and Greenlife is relatively recent. And it was not until Mr. Thompson hired legal counsel that city council took his complaints seriously.

    It would seem Council and Greenlife are using it as an excuse to do nothing. After all this has been going on for three years now.

    And I meant to write “fight” city hall…not “find” city hall… that’s entirely different…Emily Latella.

  58. motts

    where can join this UDO cult?

    You people spew out UDO stuff faster than my southern baptist preacher rattles off bible passages during service.

    So when the city handed Greenlife all their permits when they first opened, and Greenlife went on with business, how did Greenlife all of a sudden become the bad guys? I would think they assumed they were handed permits and were good to go.
    I am sure they had an architect, who had to know all that UDO info as well. I beleive they are in the grocery business, not the UDO city planning business. I just don’t get it. Who is responsible?

    I don’t beleive it looks like Fresh Market has a buffer zone between their back dock and the houses there. I pass there everyday perplexed on why Greenlife is getting the bad rap here.

  59. Joe (not Joey)

    Here’s where you can find the UDO:
    http://www.ashevillenc.gov/business/development_services/planning_zoning/dev_code/default.aspx?id=1218

    If you own property, you may care about it. And Motts, you hit the nail on the head. That has been the million dollar question. How did GreenLife get their approval? The UDO is pretty damn clear. There are many other great questions like how did the City approve that the whole GreenLife renovation was around $12/square foot. There’s a lot of fishyness to this whole affair, and if everything was OK, then why won’t the City just hold an open hearing on the matter where both sides could present themselves and if Thompson is so wrong, he’d be shown so. Thompson is just petitioning his government for a public hearing and being denied it. I think that’s that pesky constitution thing that he is asking to follow.

  60. reidssecretlover

    i say lay off snorting energy drinks, and calm down for a quick minute, and then possibly the city will listen to you.

  61. Twiddle Hopper

    I want what Reidssecretlover is on. That’s a good one. Have you ever pointed out to someone in a bureaucracy that they were wrong? God help you if you ever end up in this situation. When’s the last time you heard a government say, “its our mistake, we’ll work to clean it up?” I haven’t been a big fan of how anyone is handling themselves in this, but at the end of the day, it is the City’s job to clean this sucker up. In the immortal words of Mayor Bellamy from August of 2006, “the citizens have done this long enough. We have to take ownership of this and work to fix it.”

    And everyone is still waiting.

  62. city dweller

    Mr Roberts,
    Apparently, you think anything goes downtown. Of course, it is different than living in the country. That is precisely why people choose to live “in the city” and “visit” the country. Since more people are returning to living in the urban areas (not just Asheville downtown), you can expect more demands (not necessarily the same ones) from those citizens…just like the suburbs.
    You need to be a wee bit more understanding since building in the downtown area is a way of protecting the countryside.
    It not just about having a grocery store move on your street. It’s the way it was done. We do have laws…not suggestions. Is it unreasonable to expect laws to be enforced? Is it unreasonable for a citizen to expect fair treatment from his government and those sworn to protect him?

  63. Nam Vet

    While visiting Greenlife this morning, I saw another compromise. The trucks can come up to the opposite side from Maxwell and unload without causing undue hardship on anyone. There is a large dirt parking lot and access from the lower street area off of Merrimon. There is probably not a loading door on that side, but the driver and 2 Greenlife employees could strong arm the stuff around back to the Maxwell side via loading dollies. More work, but no intrusion to the Maxwell Street citizens. And…the signs on Maxwell says NO TRUCKS and NO PARKING. If the unloading is done on the other side of the building, no laws will be broken.

  64. Aliasjoe

    Thank you Nam Vet for using a little logic, a positive attitude, and problem solving. The solution is pretty easy. What you described has been the suggestion on the table to GreenLife since 5/05. It is still the proposal that has been suggested by pretty much everyone involved, but GreenLife. GreenLife insists that it isn’t feasible, though they have never presented hard information showing the infeasibility. The City has never been willing to force them to explore that option (we don’t know why). The only option GreenLife is willing to consider still keeps 50% of the trucks on Maxwell, which is still non-compliant with the law. We’ll see where their proposal goes, but it isn’t all that acceptable to the citizens on the street and it doesn’t come anywhere near the spirit or intent of the law. Your suggestion will meet the law and solve the problem, plus the citizens would have no room for complaint. When are you going to run for Council?

  65. huh?

    Nam Vet….Strong arm the goods to back door? You obviously do not know how much products greenlife gets.
    Do you know what a pallet is? Do you know how many times pallets break in the truck on the way? Do you know businesses who order in large quantities have 5 to 10 pallets per truck load sometimes?
    There would be no “stroung arms” to just carry the merchandise to the back, you would need a forklift to carry each one to the back.
    In theory if you only had a few boxes that would work, but we are talking about like 800 to 1000 pounds per pallet.
    FYI-Tractor trailors are not allowed down maxwell, and if you go and sit in the parking lot on a delivery day at Greenlife, you will see the trucks come through the parking lot of Greenlife and NOT down MAXwell.

  66. Joey

    The trucks may come through the parking lot,but, in order back into the loading dock they have to pull on to Maxwell Street fully. Blocking the street traffic, driving on the sidewalks, blocking the sidewalks and creating one big ass mess. (Watch the video, son!)

    Yes, if you sit in the parking lot on a delivery day at Greenlife you will see trucks…ON MAXWELL STREET!!!

    If you are selling that much and making “butt loads of money” I might suggest that Greenlife by a forklift.

  67. Nma Vet

    HUH? I have worked in a grocery store before. I have helped unload trucks…while in high school.Of course, back then, we didn’t whine that the work was “too hard” like you apparently are doing. Thanks for filling in the gap there Joey. You are right. Because I do see the trucks jack-knife parked on Maxwell. Aliasjoe, thanks for the pat on the back. I don’t know if I am Council material, especially since I live in Fairview. :)

  68. Joey

    I also might add that once the trucks, which sometimes take up to 25 minutes to maneuver into the loading dock (boop!-boop!-boop!), are backed in it is virtully impossible for them turn around and go back out through the parking lot. This means they must exit using Maxwell Steet.

    Also, I am sure that with all the WalMart shoppers which have forced the South’s textile industry to China and since we stopped looking for the union label and our children’s toys are poisoned, that Greenlife could indeed employ an over qualified forklift driver.

    Isn’t that what attracting businesses to our downtown is all about? Creating sustainable jobs?

  69. Nam Vet

    Asheville does have a bit of a quirky nature in some quarters, but if you think Asheville is the weirdest place in this country, you are not at all well-traveled.

    If we can get the transplants out of city planning/zones offices and off city council, and have the APD do a better job patrolling downtown to keep the bums in line, we’ll have a better environment. In the meantime, I’ll take Asheville’s warts. Because the positives far outweigh the negatives.

  70. Wally

    Asheville is a great place. Our city council needs to stand up for the little person and this will all be put to bed.

    Greenlife has to follow the law. No One wants to wake up to their trucks every morning. It so loud you can not sleep.

    Gary Jackson should be ashamed and will probably end up losing his job before it is all over with this obvious form of discrimination

  71. Nam Vet

    Well the uproar over the banning of the man from Maxwell St seems to have moved Council to action. According to a Nov 27 news item in the Xpress, GL & the City are considering traffic calming on Maxwell and moving the Maxwell loading dock to another location. Hum, don’t want a swelled head here, but did my suggestion of putting it on the opposite side of the building by the vacant parking lot get someone’s attention in town? Why didn’t GL do this earlier? Seems logical from the get-go. Probably all boiled down to the central element of our national religion: MONEY. But all in all, glad to see some movement here to help the Maxwell St folks. GL, just knock a hole on the other side of the building, put in a wide loading door, and have at it.

  72. nathan

    Nam Vet. Since i moved away from ashehole at 18 basically i have travelled and lived or visited all stayes except Maine. I didn’t say Asheville was weird I said it was theFlakiest place i’ve ever been. Two faced.Name anther town Where kayakers litter…Ledges river Park or Moutain bikers just throw their trash in the creek Alaxander Myn bike park. Or the county landfill pumps out theier holding pond into the creek…or….Some ignorant person thinks they know where i’ve lived. Ashehole is a sad.

  73. Flake lover

    I myself wonder why someone like Nathan would move away at 18 then keep up with the blog on the Mnt. Express site. Nothing to do in the town you moved to.

    Asheville doesn’t need you Nathan… thats for sure.

  74. Nam Vet

    Dittos Flake lover. Well said. I love Asheville and am grateful that I am here.

  75. nathan

    Someone emailed me the story as it is of personal interest. Ashehole is my hometown, sorry i offended with my opnion of it. I saw this article an excellent example of it. Have a nice day.

  76. Nam Vet

    You are welcome Nasshole. We can’t all be smart enough to stay in a swell town like Asheville.

  77. circusboy90210

    most city employees are irrational and have no respect for the people who pay their salaries. I too have been told to leave buildings owned by me the tax paying citizen when the only infraction I incurred was to expect a answer to a logical question . I was repeatadly told that they had no reason to answer me when they were actually the source of the information. this is in reference to city statutes which did not in fact exist but were de facto being enforced at the time to keep me from enjoying an activity that is legal any other time of the year that belle chere is not in force. this caused me great loss of personal income during an event that traditionally makes me a good deal of money overall compared to my years income.

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