Newman: County vote for alternative 3 for I-26 connector would send “mixed message”

Asheville City Council member Brownie Newman, a staunch advocate of the Asheville Design Center’s I-26 connector proposal (aka alternative 4b), says a county resolution in support of any other plan would undercut the weight of the City Council’s endorsement of 4b.

In January, Council voted 6-1 to support the 4b proposal. While that vote does not oblige the DOT to go with 4b, it did give the alternative added momentum on its way to being included in the department’s environmental-impact study.

Now, with Buncombe County commissioners poised to make a recommendation of their own — and the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce already having signed off in support of alternative 3 — Newman says an endorsement of anything but 4B sends the message that the community is divided over the I-26 issue. That message, he said, is at odds with the community support surrounding 4b.

“If the city and county are making different resolutions on what the community wants, it sends a very mixed message to the DOT,” Newman said. “It makes it more difficult to advocate for getting something done sooner rather than later.”

Newman added that the Chamber made its decision without hearing from the Asheville Design Center, which he considers a glaring omission.

“It seems crazy to me,” Newman said. “My understanding is that the Asheville Design Center was not invited to present any of their information during that decision making process.”

***NOTE: This week Xpress reported here on the demolition of Burton Street homes if altervative 3 is chosen by the DOT.***

Brian Postelle, staff writer



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4 thoughts on “Newman: County vote for alternative 3 for I-26 connector would send “mixed message”

  1. Joe Minicozzi, AICP

    Councilman Newman’s understanding is correct. The Asheville Design Center (ADC) was not invited to present to the Chamber of Commerce when they crafted their resolution. Additionally, the ADC has asked for an opportunity to have the Chamber Board revisit their resolution and take a presentation. That opportunity has not been extended/confirmed. We have had a verbal that we could possibly present at the end of Jan. but that has not been confirmed.

  2. Joe Minicozzi, AICP

    The ADC was offered a meeting to the Exec. Committee of the Chamber, but it was with 2 hours of business notice. 3pm notice for a 9am meeting the next day. I would have canceled my meeting and gone but I was told that that subcommittee couldn’t overturn the resolution. We respectfully declined the invitation given we would have missed an important meetings at our respective employers (sic: our day jobs) in order to hold for the presentation to the Chamber group that made the resolution in the first place. We want to deliver our information to the people that made the resolution, plus, its only courteous to give us more notice than less than 1/2 a day.

  3. Dripolator Bum

    I go with the County here. The Asheville City Council is trumped by the county government.

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