News briefs: Airport adds routes, residential building permit application now online

WINNING BIG: The Charles George VA Medical Center recently received two national awards. The Certificate of Appreciation recognized Charles George VAMC as providing the best patient experience in the nation. Posing with that award and the Organizational Health Award, which celebrates employee engagement, are, from left, Steph Young, medical center director; David Przestrzelski, associate director for patient care services; Margaret Wilkes, chief financial officer; and Paul Riggs, chief of staff. Photo courtesy of the Charles George VAMC

Asheville Airport adds routes, prescreening service

News continued to flow from Asheville Regional Airport last week. Delta Airlines announced new Saturday nonstop service to Detroit beginning in June, while Allegiant Airlines added a twice-weekly direct flight to Sarasota, Fla. The airport will roll out security precheck service during peak hours, providing program participants a simplified, expedited security screening process.

To sign up for the Transportation Security Administration precheck program, travelers must visit a screening center, pay an $85 fee (which covers a five-year period) and provide documentation and fingerprints. In a press release, Asheville Regional Airport said a special registration event will be held at the airport in late March, with more information available in the coming weeks.

Hospitality industry gears up for season

Lodging industry stakeholders heard an overview of industry conditions on Feb. 22 at the annual Hospitality Outlook presented by the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority and Explore Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Bennjin Lao of STR Inc. presented data on the hospitality industry in Buncombe County, home to 78 lodging properties with 7,801 rooms as of December. An additional 22 lodging properties are in the active development pipeline, with about 505 additional rooms expected to become available in 2019.

According to Lao, hotel growth in key metrics is expected to continue into 2019, but he pointed out that room occupancy is growing at a slower pace than in the past due to increased supply.

Buncombe County is outperforming peer destinations in demand growth  and average daily room rate, Lao said.

Explore Asheville President and CEO Stephanie Brown also reported on CVB updates and initiatives.

Apply for residential permits online

Those seeking residential building permits in the city of Asheville can now apply online at

According to a city press release, the application site also includes links to a checklist of residential application requirements and digital submission guidelines.

Buncombe County taps new leaders

County employee Diana Sierra moved into a new role leading the Family Justice Center. She previously served as a program manager with the county’s Health and Human Services Department’s Child Protective Services division. According to a press release, Sierra will work with community partners “to integrate community resources that provide high-quality, trauma-informed services to those experiencing domestic and sexual violence.”

Mike Mace, who currently works for Mission Health, will join the county as general services director on March 25. Mace’s new responsibilities will include “administrative and supervisory direction over county buildings and facilities, which include approximately 2 million square feet of building space and close to 750 acres of grounds maintenance. He will also ensure fleet readiness and provide design and construction administration for all county construction and renovation projects, external agency projects with county oversight and all publicly bid projects,” according to a press release.



Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Virginia Daffron
Managing editor, lover of mountains, native of WNC. Follow me @virginiadaffron

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.