At its Oct. 4 meeting, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners:
• Unanimously approved new rules allowing vacation rental homes throughout the county, including in residential areas. At the public hearing, proponents of the measure asserted that it will spur the economy and that vacation homes were allowed, without significant trouble, before the county implemented zoning in 2009. However, opponents of the measure said it would open up residential neighborhoods to commercial activity, and that the rule changes were developed for private interests in an un-transparent way.
• Unanimously approved almost half a million in funds for a variety of affordable housing projects from local nonprofits, including home rehabilitation, housing location vouchers, homelessness prevention and work on Mountain Housing Opportunities Glen Rock Depot project.
• Heard frustrations from residents living near the contaminated former CTS of Asheville site, about the pace of demolishing the old plant. The commissioners and county staff replied that they are ready for demolition, but have to follow the proper process with the property owners to prevent a legal battle that could potentially delay things even further.
• Heard remarks from the Rev. Lisa Landis, speaking on behalf of the Occupy Asheville demonstrations. In her 10-minute remarks, Landis jumped from topic-to-topic, including genetically modified foods, corruption in the justice system, the defunct public-access station URTV, civil rights and Hopi and biblical prophecy, before reading a declaration made by the demonstrators. When she didn’t finish reading the declaration during her allotted time, UNCA student Ann Marie Hornowski read the rest to the board.
For more information about the meeting, check out the Twitter feed of live dispatches or the Oct. 12 issue of Xpress.