As part of the Local News Ideas-to-Action Series, the Virginia-based national media nonprofit American Press Institute awarded Xpress a $9,300 grant to create a guide to local government decision-making for land development. The guide will cover the stages of review that projects face on their way from concept to final approval, what aspects are considered at each step and what avenues exist for public input.
At its regular meeting that evening, the Board of Commissioners will invite public input on its application for $750,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
To focus resources on larger regional branches, a proposed Library Master Plan would close three existing libraries in Black Mountain, Oakley/South Asheville and Swannanoa. Neighborhood groups in those areas fiercely oppose the changes, as they’ve made clear in recent community listening sessions hosted by the county.
The largest single grant of $4 million will support broadband infrastructure expansion in unserved areas of the county. Brownie Newman, chair of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, said that investment would leverage an additional $6 million from the state of North Carolina and private broadband providers.
Asheville city government’s decision-making should happen in the sunlight. At least, that’s the principle Liz Harper brings to her work as the city’s public records officer. Anyone who has asked for public information about permit violations, purchase orders or police reports since October 2020 has been assisted by Harper. Until recently, Harper kept track of […]
Of recipients of grants from the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority’s Tourism Jobs Recovery Fund who responded to a recent survey, 97% were open as of June 30. Nine respondents were closed at the end of June, including five which had closed permanently.
The office finds itself without any permanent staff and has no public process for hiring new employees. The vacancies come after a wave of resignations, as well as public criticism from former employees and elected leaders about a lack of support and accountability for equity work.
The approval allows the existing Four Points by Sheraton hotel to more than quintuple its current size with a mix of uses including apartments, condominiums, extended stay hotel rooms, parking and ground-level commercial space.
Asheville Police Chief David Zack suggested that crime rates were beginning to stabilize as APD learns to cope with its staffing deficiencies. Republican Sen. Chuck Edwards, however, said Asheville’s crime and policing issues were more extensive and distressing than the chief had described.
The vote on the proposed $9.75 million emergency shelter project was delayed so that members of Council have more time to review the proposal and understand community concerns.
The requirement covers all “business establishments, offices and workplaces, public transportation facilities and vehicles, and any indoor place the public is invited or allowed to enter and gather,” with the exception of weddings, funerals, religious gatherings and “other activities constituting the exercise of First Amendment rights.”
Currently, Buncombe recommends indoor masking as a response to COVID-19 but has instituted no legal mandate. The city of Asheville also plans to reinstate a similar requirement, while rules in other county municipalities would be left to their governing bodies.
While each of the speakers at the meeting commended city leaders for taking steps to help Asheville’s homeless residents, some who were also residents at nearby apartment complexes voiced concern about the proposed shelter’s location.
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Tribal Council passed an ordinance on Aug. 5 allowing production and use of the crop, which the body had previously voted to decriminalize on May 6.
The city’s urban centers initiative, as well as updates to open-space requirements for new projects, are meant to encourage denser development patterns, supporting less car-dependent communities and increasing the city’s tax base.
The recommendation aligns with the guidance of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which called for universal indoor masking “in areas of substantial or high transmission” on July 27.
Unlike Asheville and Buncombe County governments, which ended the practice of live remote comment after their return to in-person meetings, the BCTDA will continue to allow members of the public to call into live meetings to comment — an option that was not offered before the pandemic.
Highest on city staff’s list of potential funding priorities were affordable housing, public engagement, homelessness, public and mental health, small business recovery and workforce development.
The new rules will take effect Wednesday, Sept. 15.
Scheduled for a vote at Council’s regular meeting is a series of revisions to the city’s noise ordinance that would set specific decibel levels for downtown, as well as commercial and industrial areas, as measured from any property away from the source of the noise.
Critical race theory, a set of ideas about the ways race influences society, drew 13 commenters at a June 3 meeting of the Buncombe County Board of Education. Officials at both the county and Asheville city school systems say they do not explicitly teach CRT and encourage students to develop their own judgments.