City Council urges county action on Parkside

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

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13 thoughts on “City Council urges county action on Parkside

  1. Austin

    Stewart Coleman has stated that he already has spent millions on this project. I think he’s an idiot if he spent millions paying architects for the drawings of this building. Where else would the money have gone? Coleman, I think you’re not only a back room wheeler dealer but a liar also. Maybe you can prove the cost you’ve incurred but I bet not you big f***ing baby.

  2. Tigerswede

    I would like to see where the tax payer money for the Pack Square Park went, we have a right to that but no one is demanding that.

    Mr. Coleman can spend his money as he choses and doesn’t have to justify it to anyone, especially not to someone as rude as Austin.

  3. Tiger:

    http://www.packsquarepark.org/
    You can find everything you want to know about the Pack Sq Park there. They will be completing it all in mid 2009. They didn’t expect it to take this long, but they ran into over a yard of concrete that had to be dug out from years and years of building one square on top of another. The park is going to be truly lovely, a real treat to the center of Asheville.

    And not much of your tax-payer money has gone to it – most of the monies have been raised via private philanthropy and government grants. In 2000 when the powers that be voted to create this park, both the City of Asheville and Buncombe County became the first donors to the park project, with contributions of $7,500 each. I don’t think they’ve put any other money into this, but if I am mistaken please someone correct me.

    Hope that answers your inquiry –

    -JBo

  4. Austin

    Tiger, Yes, Coleman can spend his money how he pleases; however, if he is misguiding the public and trying to gain sympathy, then he should be called on it. Do you not agree? I make no apologies for being deeply offended by all of this good ole boy, take all you can attitude that Coleman is. I think what he did was beyond rude so I’m ok being blatant in my criticisms. He has been given opportunities to do the right thing, but instead belittled the people trying to save what makes this place what it is (a beautiful tourist mecca).
    You will notice this definition of parasite pertains to Coleman: ‘something that resembles a biological parasite in dependence on something else for existence or support without making a useful or adequate return’. He’s bought our park space in a back room deal, THAT WAS RUDE!!

  5. barry

    I love that page on ParksideTruth.com. What a hoot! They claim they have “improved” the view corridor beyond the Design Guidelines. At what point is it OK to call people liars?

    The Guidelines regarding the view corridor state: “New development must maintain a clear view corridor from the Vance Monument to the Buncombe County Court House, City Hall and the mountains beyond.”

    Guess which part of that line Parksidetruth.com omits? Yes, the “mountains beyond.” The view is completely obscured by the Parkside condos.

  6. William P Miller

    If this goes through, everyone: VOTE OUT THE BUNCOMBE COUNTY COMMISSIONER INCUMBANTS.

    The incumbants: Carol Peterson, Bill Stanley, David Gantt, Nathan Ramsey, David Young. VOTE ALL THESE PEOPLE OUT OF OFFICE as a warning to the next bunch that they had better look out for the people instead of developers.

  7. William P Miller

    Add: Carol Peterson is the one who wanted to outlaw mobile homes in Buncombe County because it would lower the property values of her rich friends. She ESPECIALLY needs to be voted out!

  8. ThePhan

    “And not much of your tax-payer money has gone to it – most of the monies have been raised via private philanthropy and government grants. In 2000 when the powers that be voted to create this park, both the City of Asheville and Buncombe County became the first donors to the park project, with contributions of $7,500 each. I don’t think they’ve put any other money into this, but if I am mistaken please someone correct me.”

    JBo,
    The county has put at least $2 million into the Pack Square project beginning in 2006. I would assume the city has put forward a significant amount of money to the project as well.

    It is a concern that there has been so little public oversight of this project. Has there even been an audit of the Conservancy or any type of follow up scrutiny by either the city or county?

    This really has nothing to do with the Parkside project, but I am continually amazed that the Pack Square project continues to slide by.

  9. Gordon Smith

    William,

    A point of clarification – David Gantt and Nathan Ramsey are running for Chair of the Board. This means you can’t vote all of the incumbents out – one of those two will remain. Nathan Ramsey is the one who inserted the sale of the land into the Nov. 21, 2006 agenda without any public notice, and David Gantt is the one who was first to say that the Commissioners “screwed up” and who has been leading the Commission to find a solution.

    Further, David Young is not standing for re-election.

    Holly Jones and K. Ray Bailey are both running for seats, and both will do an excellent job. As to the others… we’ll all have to think long and hard.

    p.s. If you like Parkside Truth, you’ll love http://www.parksidetruthiness.com

  10. Barry Summers

    As to the Pack Square Conservancy: at the last work session, Council reviewed the books, heard from the outside CPA who checked their numbers, and then City Council gave them a clean bill of health.

    I have been critical of the Conservancy many times in the past, and probably will again in the future. However, the insinuations floating around about their finances stem in part from the attacks leveled at them by the County staff. We have seen the emails released by the County that show that the staff threatened the Conservancy behind the scenes in order to get them to support Parkside. And then, when they refused to play along, the County staff went after their budget.

    I’m not vouching for the numbers or the Conservancy myself; I’m just saying, be aware of where the criticism is coming from.

  11. William P Miller

    Thanks for the clarification Gordon. I will look at Holly, who I like personally, and K Ray. I for sure will NOT vote for Peterson, Stanley or Ramsey.

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