Asheville City Council — And the kitchen sink…

It’s a particularly eclectic meeting tonight for Asheville City Council, with matters including a proclamation recognizing LGBT History Month, an update on the re-opened Hillcrest Bridge, expanding the power of the planning commission, establishing an Affordable Housing Advisory Committee and transferring housing investigations to the NC Human Rights Commission.

The proclamation recognizes this month as LGBT History Month. Unusually for a city proclamations, it’s coming during the month it recognizes, and not at the meeting just before that month begins.

Council will also receive a scheduled update on the re-opened Hillcrest pedestrian bridge. The update cites some problems with vandalism, but notes that there have been no deaths in the ensuring time from pedestrians trying to cross the highway to get into Hillcrest, and that crime in the area has actually decreased. It notes that the Asheville Police Department has applied for a grant for more officers for the area, but that “increased police presence has created increase tension with some residents of Hillcrest.”

The planning and zoning commission will receive expanded powers, if Council approves a measure giving the appointed board final approval over “Level II” projects and major subdivisions. Currently, that final approval rests with the city’s Technical Review Commission. The changes are intended to provide a better forum for public discussion, as the TRC only considers technical matters.

Another proposed measure would transfer investigations of alleged federal housing law violations locally to the North Carolina Human Rights Commission, and away from the Asheville Buncombe Community Relations Council, which has recently had a number of staff and financial difficulties.

Also on the housing front, Council will consider creating a permanent Affordable Housing Advisory Committee.

The meeting begins at 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, June 14, in Council’s chambers on the second floor of City Hall.

— David Forbes, senior news reporter


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