At its Tuesday informal work session, Asheville City Council reiterated it would like to see the county buy back land at City/County Plaza it sold to developer Stewart Coleman for his controversial Parkside condominium project.
That was the only comment on the matter from Council, which had been in a 45-minute closed session to discuss a possible deal involving city-owned property south of the project on Eagle Street, as well as a lawsuit against the county by heirs of George Pack in opposition of the county’s sale of the land Pack had donated to the county for park land and public commons.
Mayor Terry Bellamy told a packed chamber of mostly Parkside oppoenents, who had been protesting outside City Hall, that the city would consider any feasible land swap, but that the county must be the “significant driver” of any resolution of the matter.
Coleman addressed the Council for the first time about his project, giving details of a request he will bring later to get an easement along his property to construct a road. Coleman said the road would be necessary for adequate staging of construction and fire crews, and would make it easier to make deliveries. The only other alternative, he said, would be to use Marjorie Street behind the project. But because that road is only 14 feet wide, he claimed he would be forced to move his building northward toward the plaza by 15 feet. That, he warned, would impede the view of the landmark City Hall when viewed from the Vance Monument.
Consideration of that easement request could come next month, as Coleman tries to break ground on his project later this year.
In other news, Pack Square Conservancy board chair Carol King told Council that the construction phase of the delayed Pack Square park is underway, with the park’s completion scheduled for September 2009.
She also stated that the $20.5 million project is closing in on the funds necessary to complete the park, with a $5 million fundraising and capital campaign underway and running through next year.
For more on Council’s meeting, check out the July 23 Xpress.
— Hal L. Millard, staff writer