Council adopts master plan “in concept”

In a 5-2 vote Tuesday night, Asheville City Council voted to adopt the long-awaited Downtown Master Plan.

Though Council heard a presentation on the plan by consultants Goody-Clancy on May 12, this was the first opportunity for the public and Council members to weigh in.

As to be expected in a process that brought together ideas from both sides of the development coin, comments ranged from supportive to guarded.

“The need for a master plan comes from all sides,” said Jesse Plaster. “No single party got exactly what they wanted. Our feeling is that, if anyone did, it would be a skewed plan.”

Council’s adoption of the plan “in concept” means that city staff will now explore ways to implement parts of the plan and report back to council for approval or direction, while more controversial aspects will warrant further council discussion.

Council members Carl Mumpower and Bill Russell voted against the adoption.

For more coverage of the May 26 meeting, see the June 3 issue of Mountain Xpress.

Brian Postelle, staff writer



Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

6 thoughts on “Council adopts master plan “in concept”

  1. It was encouraging at the public hearing to see how upset the hard-core laissez-faire developers who used to run this town are with this plan. It reminded me that, even though I’ve got my problems as a citizen with some of its details (as everyone has with this or that), overall this plan is a huge improvement over the arbitrary, biased system of development we’ve been struggling under till now.

    The trick now will be to keep the hard-core folks from gutting the protections that survived the advisory-committee compromises, like preventing skyscraper shadows on parks. (Originally this provision would have prevented shadows on residential neighbors, too, but that part got sacrificed.)

    McGuire, Wood and Bissette singled the shadow provision out for attack at the hearing. They claimed it was a “special-interest indulgence” aimed at the Parkside project (which the powerful law firm is defending) — and then proceeded to indulge their own special interest by complaining it would prevent them from putting up any more than an eight-storey building on their parking lot by the Drhumor Building!!

    — Steve Rasmussen

  2. hauntedheadnc

    Yes, this plan is an improvement over the arbitrary way we’ve done business up to now. It’s an enormous improvement, in fact, over having a project live or die depending on whether the city council got its afternoon nap today or not.

    Then again, there’s been a great fuss about how the city council is supposedly shirking their duties. Some people want the council voting on every last project. What these people are forgetting is the same thing the Republicans forgot when they were hellbent on giving George W. more power than God: the government in power now is not the government that will always be in power.

    Did you really want the council, when it inevitably becomes more conservative and business- and development-friendly (and it will, before the pendulum swings back toward it being more granola-oriented) voting on projects and approving them all?

    This plan fixes that by laying down some rules. Now, as Mr. Rasmussen pointed out, the key is to make sure the boards and groups now to be in charge of approving projects are packed with a diverse cross-section of thought. We need development interests represented, and we need representatives from the hippie commune.

    With quantifiable rules and diverse representation in the approval boards, I think this downtown plan will serve Asheville just fine.

  3. LOKEL

    Cast shadows …. are you kidding me!

    Since the earth rotates around the sun,(unless they don’t teach that anymore), a shadow constantly moves and would never continuously cover any area of size for 2 hours how can this be a determinate for a “master plan”?

    I guess by this rule, the Jackson Building should be razed so that it doesn’t cast a shadow on Pack Square!!

  4. John

    Its all about casting the ‘depressing visual’ to spin the situation in the worst possible emotional way. That is much more en vogue than specific details or conditions. All policy is written that way nowadays.

  5. John

    JoBo … glad to offer a translation. I was just making fun of the typically vague wording … i.e. the ‘shadow’ wording Lokel made reference to … that takes place in much legislation.

    Its hard to hammer out a contract or legislation with specific conditions that actually cover reasonable future scenarios. Harder than most of our elected officials are willing to take on.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.