Video of the original (and ultimately controversial) sale of public parkland to developer Stewart Coleman by the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners in 2006 is now available online.
Blogger Arratik, of the Scrutiny Hooligans Web site, assembled and put up the video on YouTube. It includes clips from the Oct. 17, 2006, meeting, where the commissioners voted on the consent agenda, including an item putting the property up for bid. In the second clip, from Nov. 21, 2006, the board votes unanimously to approve the sale (for $322,000 to Coleman’s Black Dog Realty) after adding the item to the agenda at the beginning of the meeting.
Commissioner David Young comments that he thinks the price is good (county staff have since assessed the property value at $544,000). Associate County Attorney Michael Frue briefly explains the location of the property and the circumstances of the sale to the commissioners.
Local activists have criticized the sale, asserting it was an underhanded deal to give public parkland to a private developer. Coleman now proposes to construct the nine-story Parkside condominium project on the site, and the city’s Technical Review Committee approved the project on Monday. Asheville City Council has unanimously condemned the land sale, and will revisit the matter at its Tuesday, July 15, meeting.
— David Forbes, staff writer