A letter delivered by developer Stewart Coleman to a group of demonstrators holding a vigil beneath the magnolia tree that sits on the controversial Parkside property states his intention to cut down the tree “sometime after 35 days from today’s date.”
Coleman told Xpress that he drafted the letter as part of a promise he made to demonstrators when he met with them in July. Responding to charges that he may cut the tree under darkness of night, Coleman told the group he would not do so without notice. The blog Asheville on the Ground has this account of the conversation.
“I gave [demonstrator Steve Rasmussen] my word that I would give him no less than 35 days notice,” Coleman said. “I’m honoring my word.”
The letter says the Coleman plans to apply for the permits necessary to demolish the adjacent Hayes and Hopson building as well.
According to a press release from Rasmussen and fellow demonstrator Lady Passion, demonstrators plan to respond in a press conference tomorrow (Thursday) at noon at the tree in front of Asheville City Hall.
As for the hand delivery, Coleman said he had no address for the demonstrators, and “I couldn’t give it to the post office and address it to the people sitting under the tree.”
The text of the letter is transcribed below, followed by the press release from Rasmussen and Lady Passion.
Click here to see Xpress photos of a recent rally around the magnolia tree aimed at stopping the Parkside development.
— Brian Postelle, staff writer
August 5, 2008
Re: Parkside Condominium
As we discussed last month, I am writing to let you know that we plan to apply for a demolition permit for the Hayes and Hobson building and, as part of the site preparation, the magnolia tree will be removed sometime after 35 days from today’s date.
Stewart B. Coleman
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Wed. Aug. 6, 2008
Urgent Press Conference: Magnolia Tree, Noon, Thursday, August 7th In Front Of Asheville City Hall
Parkside Condominiums opponents will hold a press conference tomorrow at noon, Thursday August 7th in front of Asheville City Hall to release the contents of a letter threatening to kill the magnolia tree and demolish the nearby historic Hayes & Hobson building within a newly specified time period. The letter was hand-delivered to Coven Oldenwilde on Tuesday by Parkside developer Stewart Coleman.
Magnolia tree watchers will respond to the letter by outlining their new plans to reject Coleman’s ultimatum and save the tree and the building.