Council to vote on Pack Square Vision Plan

After months of planning and community engagement forums, Asheville City Council is set to vote on the renovation plans for Pack Square Plaza at its Tuesday, Sept. 26 meeting. After the 2020 murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers, Pack Square became the center of the community’s fight for racial justice, culminating in the 2021 removal of the Vance Monument. The 75-foot obelisk honored Zebulon Vance, a Buncombe County native, Confederate colonel, North Carolina governor, slaveholder and white supremacist.

The 49-page draft plan is part of the city’s Pack Square Visioning Project. Durham-based civil engineering firm, McAdams Co., began work on the draft in July 2022 and has a $111,000 contract funded by both the city and county. The plan has 10 main areas of focus, including creating new spaces for civic engagement and expression, repositioning the elevated lawn and redesigning South Market Street as an active cultural corridor to The Block.

The most ambitious part of the plan involves possibly relocating the Asheville Police Department and Asheville Fire Department offices currently located inside the Municipal Building, 100 Court Plaza. According to the plan’s proposal, the space could then be “repurposed as a cultural museum to share a comprehensive, inclusive story of Asheville.” The fate of the Vance Monument still remains in limbo, pending a N.C. Supreme Court ruling.

In other news

The council will also have a public hearing regarding the zoning of a major mixed-use and mixed-income development. The development, “Project Aspire,”  is set to include additional housing, a hotel, retail space, office buildings and a new YMCA building, according to plans submitted to the city.

The Furman Co., lead developer for the project, is requesting to have the area rezoned from Commercial Business District to Commercial Business Expansion District, which would allow for more flexibility related to the size and scope of buildings.

While the Planning and Zoning Commission approved the request Aug. 2, the developer was unable to get approval from Council at its Sept. 12 meeting over disagreements regarding building height, parking and future funding. Rather than deny the request, which would prevent the developer from reapproaching for six months, Council voted 6-0 to delay consideration until  the Sept. 26 meeting.

Consent agenda and public comment 

The consent agenda for the meeting contains 11 items, which will be approved as a package unless singled out for separate discussion. Highlights include the following:

  1. A resolution authorizing the city manager to approve the donation of surplus used Asheville Police Department radios to the Woodfin Police Department. The 14 radios were previously removed from decommissioned police cars and are no longer compatible with the APD’s radio management system.
  2. A resolution authorizing the city manager to execute an approximate $2.8 million contract with Baker Grading and Landscaping Inc. for the Swannanoa River Greenway Project. If approved, the landscaping company will work to install approximately one mile of greenway along the Swannanoa River where no bicycle or pedestrian facilities currently exist.
  3. A ordinance amendment of Section 19-213 of the Code of Ordinances regarding the use and removal fee of wheel locks. If approved, the ordinance would update the wheel lock removal fee from $25 to $50, a rate that was previously approved by City Council.

Council members will gather in their chambers on the second floor of City Hall, 70 Court Plaza, starting at 5 p.m. The meeting will also be carried live on Charter/Spectrum Channel 193 and livestreamed through Asheville’s public engagement hub and on the city’s YouTube channel. Members of the public can listen live by calling 855-925-2801, meeting code 2196.

Those who wish to speak during the meeting must attend in person and sign up at the door. No live remote comment will be permitted. Prerecorded voicemail messages can also be left at 855-925-2801, meeting code 2196; written comments can be sent to until 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 26.  General comments for City Council can be sent at any time to

The full meeting agenda and supporting documents can be found here.


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About Chase Davis
Chase Davis is an Asheville-based reporter working for Mountain Xpress. He was born and raised in Georgia and holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from LaGrange College. Follow me @ChaseDavis0913

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5 thoughts on “Council to vote on Pack Square Vision Plan

  1. Grant Millin

    It seems like there is some sort of implicit, pseudo official gag order on the ‘Municipal Building Move and Repurpose’ (MBMR) initiative. Deborah Miles and one other woman introduced that idea.

    Next, MBMR is reviewed in a council meeting a few weeks ago; fast tracked through the Planning and Zoning Committee; and it’s on track for full council approval.

    This ‘Phase 4’ issue can happen at any time… I guess out to 2043; or whenever. The massive price tag indicates a major independent, professional, and apolitical study was done.

    What sort of cowed, half-assed citizens would be silent about such a disruption to our emergency services center?

  2. Mike R.

    First I’ve heard of this “initiative”. Sounds very expensive and as indicated…. disruptive.

    I would hazard a guess they want the fire station moved since it regularly goes on call and right off the Pack Square area.
    I would also hazard a guess that if Pack Square is being redesigned for greater public demonstration facilitiation (which is needed), that APD HQ next door might invite problems. Of course that is only the case in a City that tolerates such nonsense, like Asheville did during George Floyd and other demonstrations.

    I don’t know the price tag on this, but am almost certain it is quites large,

    I could not support this when we have a Water Department, for example, that fails regularly to provide reliable service. And don’t be misled, as an “Enterprise Function”, the Water Dept. runs on revenues it receives from it’s service and those revenues cannot be used elsewhere in City functions; however, there is nothing to prevent the City from directing city funds back into the Water Dept.

    FInally, it may all be for naught as it seems highly likley the sick US economy has already started a slow but inevitable slide into crisis.

  3. Enlightened Enigma

    how bout a big fat NO !!! with all the other problems in this city ? ? ?

  4. Curious

    If the Municipal Building, current home of Fire Department and Police, is to be repurposed, could it be repurposed as a symphony hall for the Asheville Symphony?

  5. Bright

    One wonders what all the proposed new palaces of entertainment plan to do when their water services are (as planned) disrupted? Well…let them import bottle booze and water…that satisfies two issues, how to flush and what to drink. Get real, Asheville.

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