News briefs: Asheville drafts tree ordinance, seeks Haywood-Page feedback

Haywood-Page properties
LAY OF THE LAND: The city of Asheville seeks resident input on the future of downtown properties it owns at the intersection of Haywood Street and Page Avenue. Photo courtesy of the city of Asheville

Asheville’s Development Services drafts tree preservation ordinance

Ben Woody, director of Asheville’s Development Services Department, said during a March 6 meeting of the Council of Independent Business Owners that his department was in the process of drafting a new tree preservation ordinance for the city. Woody said that a public meeting to discuss the specifics of the ordinance will be held at the Asheville Development Services Center at 161 S. Charlotte St. on Friday, March 20 from 10 a.m. 1 p.m. The issue is then slated to come before Asheville City Council during a public hearing Tuesday, April 28.

City seeks feedback on Haywood-Page property designs

The city of Asheville launched a new survey March 5 to gather feedback on design concepts for the downtown properties it owns at the intersection of Haywood Street and Page Avenue. Three draft design concepts for the property were presented during a public work session on the issue Feb. 17, and residents can comment on those designs through Sunday, March 14. To view the design concepts or take the survey, visit

Buncombe County launches program to help seniors with waste collection

The Elderly/Low-Income Discount Program, launched on Jan. 1, aims to assist Buncombe County seniors who have difficulty bringing trash carts to curbside collection sites. Residents aged 65 or older who subscribe to Waste Pro and either have an income less than 150% of the federal poverty level or receive federal public assistance may receive free premium service from Waste Pro if they are unable to handle their carts. Support is limited to 700 subscribers; residents may call Buncombe County Solid Waste at 828-250-5460 to see if they qualify. More information at

UNCA presents 2020 census symposium

UNC Asheville will present The 2020 U.S. Census Count – What’s at Stake? from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24, in the Blue Ridge Room at the Highsmith Student Union. The free symposium will examine how the count, which occurs every 10 years, impacts citizenship, racial minorities, redistricting and politics, among other issues. More information at

Blue Ridge Parkway announces 2019 visitation numbers

Managers of the Blue Ridge Parkway and National Park Service announced that 14,976,085 people visited the Parkway in 2019, an increase of nearly 300,000 people from 2018; the North Carolina portion of the park alone received over 10 million visitors. The agency said that July and October continue to be the most popular months to visit the parkway, although traffic is still down substantially from an all-time peak of over 21.5 million in 2002.

WNC Agricultural Options awards $216,000 in grants to local farms

WNC Agricultural Options, which is administered by local nonprofit WNC Communities, awarded $216,000 to 40 area farms in an effort to support farmers who are diversifying their businesses. Eight farms received $3,000, while 32 farms — including Rayburn Farm, Flourish Flower Farm and Ivy Creek Family Farm in Buncombe County — received $6,000. All grants were funded by the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission; the complete list of recipients is available at


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