Asheville City Council preview: smoke and transit

Before Asheville City Council at tomorrow night’s meeting are a smoking ban on all city property (including parks and greenways) as well as a new marketing campaign and hours for Asheville transit. Also, Council will discuss the budget.

Council will consider new legislation that allows municipalities to pass stricter rules than the statewide ban on smoking inside bars and restaurants. In this case, the new ordinance would prohibit smoking in all city buildings and property, including parks and greenways. Buncombe County passed a similar ordinance last year.

The city will also decide whether to implement changes designed to improve transit service, including 30-minute route frequency on major lines and a new marketing campaign designed to hook new riders. To pay for the changes (and the marketing), the city would end the Dial-a-Ride service, make evening and day routes run along the same path, and end evening routes at 10:30 p.m. The steps will cost $163,000, of which $130,000 will be paid for by federal grants and $30,000 by savings within the transit department, if Council approves the step.

During a pre-meeting worksession, deliberations on fixing an estimated $1 million shortfall in next fiscal year’s budget will continue.

Council begins its meeting on Tuesday, April 27, at 5 p.m. on the second floor of City Hall. The pre-meeting worksession begins at 3 p.m. in the north conference room on the first floor.

— David Forbes, senior reporter

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14 thoughts on “Asheville City Council preview: smoke and transit

  1. I would hope a smoking ban on all city property including parks and greenways would include pot, BBQ grills, fireworks and the internal combustion engine. Otherwise a singly targeted item could appear discriminatory.

  2. J

    If they approve the Housing Trust Fund loan, the HTF will be left with a negative balance. Didn’t Gordon run on “restoring the Housing Trust Fund”? Ooops. Hope there aren’t any affordable housing disasters during the trust fund deficit spending era.

    Why is the City taking hundreds of thousands of dollars out of the CDBG and HOME funds as administrative fees? This is budget trickery, meant to hide the fact that the city budget is bigger than its general fund and needs to suck up money from elsewhere.

    Instead of robbing the needy for hundreds of thousands of dollars in administrative fees, the city should shift these costs to the budget and let the tax payers see the true costs of running the city. This would leave the affordable housing money intact as it was meant to be. It can’t seriously cost over $350,000 to administer a few million in public funds.

    I look forward to Gordon, Cecil, and Esther being forerunners on correcting this gross cooking of the books.

  3. john

    I am glad the city will consider this idea. I think smoking anywhere is harmful & dangerous to those who do not choose to participate in such a noxious habit. I believe such a dangerous habit has no place in any public area, especially restaraunts and public venues.

  4. LOKEL

    So, the smoking ban on ALL City (and County) Property would include sidewalks, streets, parking garages right?

    Wouldn’t that basically mean that there is NO SMOKING anywhere except in your own home, yard, and associated property ……

  5. LOKEL

    Council will consider new legislation that allows municipalities to pass stricter rules than the statewide ban on smoking inside bars and alcohols.

    “inside bars and alcohols.” … what does that mean?

  6. ashevillain7

    If they’re going to ban smoking can we at least get hockey team again?

    “Let’s go Smoke!”

  7. Dionysis

    ““inside bars and alcohols.” … what does that mean?”

    Where did you see that? Not in the short article, as that actually reads:

    “Council will consider new legislation that allows municipalities to pass stricter rules than the statewide ban on smoking inside bars and restaurants.”

  8. Carcinogens in wood smoke: Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH): Residential wood burning is the source of 50% of airborne Polynuclear Organic Material (POM) in the U.S. POMs contain a group of compounds (PAHs) which include many Class A carcinogens, the most carcinogenic materials known to exist. Air pollution measurements in a residential neighborhood on Christmas Day (the most wood smoke polluted day) showed early morning background levels of PAHs of 20ng/m3. The level increased as wood burning began, peaking at over 2000 ng/m3. The U.S. EPA estimates the cancer risk from wood smoke is twelve times greater than that from equal amounts of tobacco smoke. Wood burning also creates dioxins.

    http://burningissues.org/smoke.htm

    Just the tip of the smoking log for the councils consideration. Should the city also ban all wood burning in the city limits?

  9. Kay Hoss

    “If they approve the Housing Trust Fund loan, the HTF will be left with a negative balance.” J

    Equally curious, or perhaps duplicitious, is the ‘extra credit’ assigned to the developer’s HTF application for the Larchmont’s low site preparation costs. Nearly every item from the technical review was conditionally approved, pending major upgrades — particularly, the infrastructure. New water and sewer lines must be installed; the storm drainage system is non-existent; sidewalks must be constructed; the road significantly improved; and so forth.

    If the developer got credit for not having to incur those costs, did Council mislead the public in stating that the City would bear no costs for this project? The infrastructure improvements are not optional. Did Council members even look at the Larchmont budget and the conditions of the technical review? Or, did they dismiss all of this the same way they dismissed the legitimate concerns from the neighborhood?

  10. travelah

    I’m gonna throw an extra log on the fire pot this evening jjust for good measure.

  11. Ben Simpson

    The Larchmont project is the “sacred cow”, it will eat up any and all budgets in its way. The Mayor was a principle at MHO for over 10 years but that was not enough for her to recuse herself, councilman Smith was a go on the project before it was ever presented to the community after his private lunches with the MHO staff, Bill Russell figured out all by himself that even though it can house about 240 people in 60 units that there will be less than 70 cars and less than 1.5 people per unit? The fix was in way before the public knew and what of Jan Davis? He was presold, Ester Mannheimer sent advertising emails for MHO and then blew smoke on how it would have been easy to dissapprove? Maybe the NC Bar should review her lack of ETHICS for the public good? Watch you tax dollars go to this desparate need as the trash is not picked up, the potholes take over the city and the festivals just go away. Balanced budget? Make me laugh so hard!! Balanced on OUR backs.

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