Friends of East Flat Rock poster

Green in brief: Henderson planning board votes against asphalt plant

Board member Rick Livingston, who made the motion to deny the recommendation, said the proposed SE Asphalt plant’s location in a “very residential area” off the Spartanburg Highway was incompatible with both the county’s comprehensive plan and East Flat Rock’s community plan.

Abigail Joyce samping water for PFAS

State researcher­s release first reports on PFAS in WNC water

None of the systems that serve the Xpress coverage area exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency’s advisory limit for the so-called “forever chemicals.” Nor did any system have more than 10 ppt of any individual PFAS, the level at which the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality has required Chemours Co. to provide water filtration.

Solar panels on parking garage

Green in brief: Local government­s fund community solar, Asheville School conducts first in-city deer hunt

Together, the city of Asheville and Buncombe County approved over $11 million in funding to install roughly 7 megawatts of solar power at public facilities and area schools. The projects are anticipated to save the governments and local schools roughly $650,000 in electricity costs in the first year and more than $27 million over the installations’ 30-year operational life.

11 Collier Avenue oak trees

Green in brief: P&Z says no to tree protection ordinance, WNC turkey harvest hits record high

Commission Chair Laura Hudson argued that the rules placed too much emphasis on tree protection and could become an untenable burden for developers. “If you jam too many requirements onto one small parcel, I think you’re going to kill the development altogether,” she said.

Maggie Sugg and Jennifer Runkle

Local researcher­s explore weather’s role in COVID-19 spread

New research, published in the journal Science of The Total Environment, suggests that humidity plays a greater role than does the temperature in the spread of the novel coronavirus. “Weather is just another factor that we need to be incorporating in our infectious disease modeling,” says lead author Jennifer Runkle, an environmental epidemiologist with the Asheville-based North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies at N.C. State University.

I-26 Connector moving ahead, but money issues loom

While local and state officials with the N.C. Department of Transportation say the nearly-$1 billion I-26 Connector project remains on schedule, recent financial woes at the agency have delayed some projects in the region. And those in the know say it’s too soon to say whether the domino effects from those delays may push off the start of construction for the connector project or affect later project stages.

Josh Kelly by logging road

Green in brief: Small firms claim exclusion from local public solar process, Forest Service OKs Buck Project

Mike Diethelm, president and founder of Asheville-based SolFarm Solar Co., says a $10 million construction bond requirement for would-be bidders on the solar projects “knocks out so many local medium and small solar businesses, which we have a lot of in this town, and only opens it up to the big guys.”

View from Craggy Pinnacle

Green in brief: Buncombe backs Craggy scenic designatio­n, Duke releases net-zero carbon report

At an April 21 meeting, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners lent their unanimous support to designating 16,000 acres of the Pisgah National Forest in the county’s northeast as the Craggy Mountain Wilderness and National Scenic Area. And on April 28, Duke Energy unveiled the most detailed public explanation to date of how company leaders are thinking about the longer-term future.

Buncombe County seal

Commission considers county, city employee sharing

According to the formal agreement, up for a Board of Commissioners vote on Tuesday, April 21, both city and county staffers would remain employees of and still be paid by their respective governments while carrying out their new duties. Asheville and Buncombe County would be required to cover the expense of all personal protective equipment for workers from the other government.

Bearwallow Mountain Trail

Green in brief: Buncombe merges conservati­on department­s, WNC trail closures

On March 17, the county announced that it would combine its Soil and Water Conservation District with N.C. Cooperative Extension to form the Agriculture and Land Resources Department. Meanwhile, the managers of numerous area parks and trails have opted to restrict access in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.