Despite changing plans twice to avoid a vote before Asheville City Council or the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, the controversial Parkside project will still need city and county approval for road and emergency-services easements.
That was the word today from Shannon Tuch, acting Asheville planning director, in the wake of a new application that developer Stewart Coleman submitted June 11. That new plan, by changing where construction equipment is based, avoids needing the commissioners’ approval for an affidavit. It was the second change Coleman had made in less than a month. Earlier, he reduced the height of the project, avoiding a vote before City Council.
Council subsequently condemned, unanimously, the original land sale that allowed Coleman to purchase a piece of public parkland. The commissioners approved that sale in 2006 after discussing it briefly and originally putting it on the consent agenda (a list of routine matters usually handled by a single vote). Vice Chair David Gantt has said that he regrets the sale and was unclear at the time about the property’s location.
“We’ve accepted the plan — all the details are straight and it meets our quality standards — and we’re reviewing the information now,” Tuch told Xpress. “That’s the last step before it goes to TRC [the city’s Technical Review Committee]. We’re still going to need county approval when it comes to permits.”
The project is scheduled to go before the TRC, which can only consider technical issues, on July 7. But that won’t be the last hurdle.
“They’ll need an easement from the city and the county to build the road he [Coleman] has proposed to run in front of the building,” Tuch said. “They’ll also need county approval for a no-build easement on the east side of the building for emergency services.”
The commissioners were originally scheduled to vote on the affidavit at their June 24 meeting. Yesterday, Chairman Nathan Ramsey said the board will still discuss the issue.
““It should still be on the agenda; it’s my personal feeling that we need to discuss our options,” he said. “There’s definitely going to be some discussion about how we can resolve this in a better way.”
For more information on the changes to the Parkside project, see the June 18 issue of Mountain Xpress, on the stands tomorrow.
— David Forbes, staff writer