Asheville City Council preview: Of camps, contracts and apartment complexes

At its meeting tonight, Asheville City Council will consider new ordinances — aimed at Occupy Asheville — banning camping on city property; renewing a contract with First Transit to manage the city’s transit system and approval of the Aventine apartment complex just outside the city.

The proposed ordinances, which the protesters oppose, would ban camping, storage and enclosed structures on city property. City Attorney Bob Oast‘s memo preceding the new rules talks about the role Occupy Asheville played in spurring their inception, and claim the rules are intended to protect free speech while preventing permanent encampments. Protesters, currently encamped on a narrow strip of land in front of City Hall, claim the rules are aimed at quashing dissent and the homeless. The topic of whether or not to move from camping in that location has remained a topic of debate recently within Occupy Asheville, but the demonstrators haven’t reached a consensus.

Council will also consider renewing a contract with First Transit, who manage the city’s transit system. A conflict between federal and state law means that the city has to hire an outside company to deal with the unionized employees. First Transit has been criticized following a series of accidents, and a labor dispute before the renewal of its most recent contract with the city’s bus drivers.

The Aventine, a proposed 312-unit apartment complex just outside the city limits in South Asheville, also must pass a second reading before Council. The Aventine narrowly passed a first reading 4-3 on Nov. 22, with opponents of the project saying it needed more affordable units. However, the make-up of Council has since changed, as Brownie Newman and Bill Russell have been replaced by Chris Pelly and Marc Hunt.

Asheville City Council meets at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 13 in Council’s chambers on the second floor of City Hall.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.