Highlights from Asheville’s City Manager Development Forum

Some highlights from Asheville’s City Manager Development Forum, as reported by self-deputized Councilman Gordon Smith, who sent series of brief messages via Twitter.

It’s a full house for the City Manager Development Forum, today, Nov. 20.

Gary Jackson introduces Stephanie Monson, who is charged with Riverfront redevelopment. Monson is describing efforts to bring passenger rail to Asheville. The rail station is envisioned as a multimodal hub for rail, greenways, bike rental, transit.

The city’s brownfields initiative has assessed five different properties. This effort is an important step towards cleanup and reuse.

Dan Baechtold, who is with Asheville’s Transportation Department, is describing transportation improvements coming to Riverway. The public infrastructure initiatives have been prioritized. Riverside Drive is funded for the preliminary steps.

Public Works Director Cathy Ball is describing Azalea Park improvements, which are: Widen Azalea Road, add sidewalks, bike lanes, more.

Judy Daniel, Planning Director, touts receipt of Sustainable Communities Initiative grant money, and getting Multimodal projects ‘shovel ready’. Wilma Dikeman Riverway, Town Branch Greenway and more are to be engineered.

Robert Griffin, Dir. of Bldg for AVL, describes building-permit trends. His office is giving out permits for many renovations, few for new housing. Permitted: $3.2m worth of building projects.

Monson is now describing the Urban Development Zone, which offeres tax credits for job creation plus a tax credit of up to 7 percent of the property value.

City Manager Jackson is inviting input regarding the city’s River Redevelopment plans. Jackson says “You won’t see big box development” in the River District. Instead, look for mixed-use, he says.

Maggie Ullman, Sustainability Director, is speaking about Sustainable Bonus incentives: “Play by these rules, and we will streamline process.” She says this is the first time the enviromental sector, affordable housing sector, and business sector have all “rallied around” a development policy.

— Photos by Gordon Smith.


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