Buncombe County Commissioners meeting: Wheels and wilderness ***UPDATE***

At this afternoon’s Sept. 21 meeting, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners:

• Passed a motion to receive the Asheville/Buncombe/Henderson Regional Public Transportation Feasibility Study but didn’t commit to following any of its recommendations. The board asked County Manager Wanda Greene to consult with City of Asheville and Henderson County management before any further action related to the study is taken.

• Passed a resolution endorsing permanent federal protection of the Craggy Wilderness Study Area in Pisgah National Forest.

• Approved a county grant application to request $200,000 from the North Carolina Division of Community Assistance for emergency home repair services for low-income residents.

• Approved a contract to hire a Construction Manager at Risk to oversee Life Safety Tower renovations at the County Courthouse.

All board votes were unanimous.

Here’s a preview of the meeting with more information:

The Sept. 21 meeting of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners will include a report on the region’s public transportation systems and a resolution to endorse permanent federal protection of the Craggy Wilderness Study Area in Pisgah National Forest.

The Asheville/Buncombe/Henderson Regional Public Transportation Feasibility Study, which was funded by the the North Carolina Dept. of Transportation and conducted by HDR Engineering of the Carolinas, assessed the public transit services being provided in Buncombe and Henderson counties as well as the City of Asheville, and looked at ways to better coordinate and consolidate them.

The report recommends taking several steps, including hiring a regional mobility manager, establishing a regional transit council,  jointly marketing services, providing improved coordination of routes and schedules, adopting common passenger and employee policies, coordinating scheduling, instituting joint procurements, and seeking dedicated funding sources.

County staff recommends the board approve a resolution to accept the recommendations outlined in the plan and to begin the process of implementation, although before any significant changes could take place, Asheville and Henderson County would have to follow suit. The recommended resolution also authorizes the County Manager to take action towards completing a five‐year Community Transportation Services Plan that’s needed to ensure the county’s continued eligibility for state and federal transportation funding.

The board will also consider a resolution that endorses permanent federal protection of the Craggy Wilderness Study Area in Pisgah National Forest as the Craggy Wilderness Area. The 2,380 acre tract is about 11 nautical miles northeast of Asheville and is adjacent to the Blue Ridge Parkway. The high elevation area along the slopes of the Craggy Mountains has been designated as a study area since 1984, and has been found to harbor a variety of rare plants and animals as well as serve as an important watershed and recreation area. The land would be the first wilderness area in Buncombe County.

The board will meet at 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 21, in the commissioner’s chambers, located at 30 Valley St. A short pre-meeting review of the agenda will begin at 4:15 p.m.

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About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning journalist who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

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