101 Charlotte St. deftly balances conflicting priorities

Laura Berner Hudson/Photo by Anastasiia Photography


Drive through North Asheville these days and you can’t miss the bright red yard signs urging passersby to “Save Charlotte Street” or vaguely saying, “This is a terrible idea.” Upon closer inspection, you see that the signs are sponsored by the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County, which is leading the charge against a proposed development at the northeast corner of Charlotte and Chestnut streets.

Frantically waving its red-feather logo across Grove Park lawns, the Preservation Society is sounding the alarm: Our city’s very identity is changing as developers offer a “new vision” of Asheville.

Perhaps they’re right. Asheville is continuing to grow, with the 2020 Bowen Report projecting 3,254 additional households in the city by 2024. This will put measurable pressure on the existing housing stock and drive increased urbanization, requiring sociocultural changes if we’re to accommodate our new neighbors.

Asheville is changing, and since affordable housing is already in short supply, every neighborhood has a responsibility to accept its share of new, denser residential projects, despite the inevitable protests by vocal citizen groups.

Progress vs. preservation

Much of the new multifamily housing built here in recent years has been blandly suburban and located on the city’s periphery, especially in South Asheville, along Brevard Road or clustered near the interstate exits in Weaverville. With limited access to public transportation, this decentralized development makes households increasingly car-dependent, exacerbating traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions amid a global climate crisis. Additionally, low-density expansion requires extending municipal services into rural areas, destroying natural habitat rather than upgrading the city’s current infrastructure.

The academically accepted counterpoint to this type of urban sprawl is building more units per acre along established transportation corridors close to the urban core. Private developers are essential to increasing the housing supply, because they have the resources to build close to downtown, where land costs are higher. Urban density actually reduces traffic congestion by promoting walkability; it also creates the critical mass needed to support better transit options. This lowers carbon emissions and fosters the face-to-face social interaction and engagement that Jane Jacobs championed in The Death and Life of Great American Cities. These positive planning goals build social capital and local resilience, reconnecting people with one another and with the place where they live.

The proposed 101 Charlotte St. development would occupy a prominent corner in the Chestnut Hill Historic District. A partnership between the Killian family and RCG, it envisions a series of mixed-use, three- to five-story buildings spread over 7 acres purchased by Dr. Killian in the 1980s. Located a half-mile from downtown, the site offers easy interstate access. The project promises about 180 new residential units (18 of which would be deeded affordable), roughly 45,000 square feet of office and retail space, structured parking for 400 cars, and rehabilitating 56 existing workforce housing units in the admittedly banal Asheville Arms Apartments.

Mindful of the neighborhood’s present character, the new building facades respectfully take their architectural cues from the adjacent older brick buildings, with just enough contemporary detailing to declare their 21st-century provenance. The expanded streetscape would provide pedestrian connectivity and opportunities for social interaction where an impassable 5-foot-high wall now sits.

The Charlotte Street Corridor Plan, written over 20 years ago, calls for mixed use, an improved pedestrian experience and medium- to high-density residential development. The current project proposes structures taller than the plan’s suggested two-story height limit in order to provide 35 units per acre while preserving 1.3 acres of open space in the form of pedestrian plazas.

In exchange for mixed-use, multifamily housing, activated streetscapes, ample parking and increased economic investment, however, 12 aging, single-family houses built at the turn of 20th century would be torn down.

So begins a battle between progress and preservation, where the need for increased urbanization collides with a historic district that sees this type of development as an “inappropriate” intrusion into an established neighborhood — or, worse, an existential threat to Asheville’s alleged “character.”

Blending old and new

Over the last 50 years, historic preservation has evolved from a special-interest group formed to protect specific, architecturally significant structures such as New York’s Grand Central Terminal into an entrenched cultural institution that seeks to influence all aspects of the built environment. Thanks to local preservation efforts, exceptional buildings in Asheville have been granted protected status, safeguarding their long-term cultural legacy: Douglas Ellington’s art deco City Hall, Charles Parker’s Grove Arcade and Richard Sharp Smith’s YMI, the heart of Asheville’s African American business district.

But today’s preservationists no longer focus on simply saving such treasures. Instead, they fight to protect entire districts whose mishmash of low-density development patterns reflects a world that no longer exists. More troubling, this inclination to preserve the past now extends to the design guidelines for new buildings, imposing an architectural hegemony of revanchist nostalgia, comfort and imitation to impose a static “character” on a place that, in reality, is continually evolving.

While not as ornate as the Victorian and Queen Anne confections in Montford’s historic district, the existing houses along Charlotte Street are well-proportioned and illustrative of Asheville’s early 20th century building boom. The Preservation Society advocates leveraging available tax credits to restore them, at least aesthetically. Federal rehabilitation standards provide guidance on how to renovate such structures while preserving their historical, cultural or architectural value, but those repairs are costly.

Inevitably, these houses would be sold or rented at a much higher rate than what current tenants pay. This is precisely how historic districts drive up the price of housing, often turning them into exclusive enclaves of the wealthy, educated and white. With so much of the Chestnut Hill district already protected (including the Von Ruck House, which was previously restored by the Killians), isn’t there room to weave contemporary ideas into the existing fabric, marbling the old and new into something that honors history while acknowledging the present?

A more inclusive vision

Cities must be allowed flexibility to adapt to broad economic changes, which may be incremental or abrupt. The oldest neighborhoods are typically located closest to the urban core, where equitable transit-oriented development is desperately needed. By arguing that large mixed-use projects destroy those neighborhoods’ character, preservation is often used as cover to stop development altogether. But limiting development hinders cities’ long-term success, which is why Portland and Minneapolis have completely abandoned low-density, single-family zoning.

Asheville’s leaders should not support policy that prioritizes the needs of the few who already “have theirs” at the expense of those who don’t. Allowing historic districts to protect their interests without regard for nonhomeowners and renters directly conflicts with an inclusive commitment to localism.

In economist Edward Glaeser’s book Triumph of the City, he reminds us, “The strength that comes from human collaboration is the central truth behind civilization’s success and the primary reason why cities exist. We must free ourselves from our tendency to see cities as their buildings and remember that the real city is made of flesh, not concrete.”

Let’s consider a new vision of Asheville that balances preservation with progress to create a more inclusive and sustainable city, ensuring that we aren’t preserving the past at the expense of the future.

Asheville native Laura Berner Hudson spent 15 years on the West Coast before returning home in 2014. She’s an architect and the former chair of the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission.

Editor’s note: This piece has been updated from the print version to reflect that the developers’ plans now call for tearing down a dozen houses as part of the project. 


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42 thoughts on “101 Charlotte St. deftly balances conflicting priorities

  1. Helen Hyatt

    Why are they building 400 new parking spaces if, as you say, living in a city makes you car independant. So now you have your high rise dense housing, forget about the car. Eliminate the parking.
    On another note, there would be absolutely no Asheville whatsoever, if the old timers had not fought so hard to preserve the downtown area. The whole lot would have been torn down in the 70s and made into another boring old mall. (all of which are now being torn down again) The historic places survive, because now you actually have a city people want to visit because it is DIFFERENT.

    • bsummers

      Sorry, Helen. According to the author, Asheville’s character is merely “alleged”.

    • luther blissett

      I think Ms Hudson’s most compelling argument is this: “low-density expansion requires extending municipal services into rural areas, destroying natural habitat rather than upgrading the city’s current infrastructure.” Over recent years we’ve seen developers snap up undeveloped parcels at random, typically just outside the city limits in the unincorporated county, then dump cookie-cutter housing complexes in that space. Either the land is part of an inheritance and the inheritors want to cash out, or the owners get an offer that’s hard to refuse. This makes providing services and planning around development reactive when it should be proactive.

      Preserving the history downtown and preserving historic residential neighborhoods is different than developing the immediate periphery of downtown in an area that already has commercial and mixed-use development. But you’re right about the parking provision: the developers want it both ways, and they ought to be made to choose.

      Finally, you have to admit it’s funny how all the artsy sketches hide the semi-abandoned Fuddruckers lot which occupies 2.3 acres directly opposite. Obviously, that lot won’t stay the same and any development — which most likely includes buying out the Taco Temple — would mirror 101 Charlotte. Does having mixed-use street-facing development on both sides of that section of Charlotte Street change things? I think it does. Regardless of whether the city approves this project we’re all going be back here soon enough, except that the preservationists will have to argue that removing the Fuddruckers will destroy the character of the neighborhood.

      • Living Asheville

        Having grown up here, and now a resident along Baird St (just a couple houses away from this proposal), I see how being able to walk to these shops would decrease my car use. Since the Road Diet was completed – we love biking and walking to the various spots along Charlotte St. The multimodal integration of this project is ideal, as well as density over sprawl. While I was initially shocked by the development proposal… the more we actually learned about the project (and needing to tune out the overly polarizing PSABC messaging), we actually like it more than dislike it. I so value the folks who protected our downtown… but to protect these altered houses then swings the pendulum to the other extreme. We do NOT have a shortage of ‘historic houses’ and these converted houses offer challenging housing (poor layouts, ADA compliance issues, not really equitable). I lived in my fair share of our crappy converted houses in Montford… I would much prefer to live in any of these proposed units. ‘Saving’ these converted houses – would mean we do not fully use a key area of land like this that then touches on many of the actual goals our neighborhood has when all voices have the opportunity to speak. Our neighborhood is NOT asking for a mall – so the downtown comparison is not quite the same. These are potential mixed use live/work apartments, cafes, local shops, and much more accessible equitable apartments.
        This article is very aligned to my thinking as someone who grew up here and actually will be impacted by the project… I hope it passes.

  2. North Asheville

    Thank you, Ms. Hudson, for a well articulated statement that includes supporting evidence from a person who appears to have the knowledge and experience to comment. https://lharch.com/

  3. bsummers

    I love this:

    “(E)very neighborhood has a responsibility to accept its share of new, denser residential projects, despite the inevitable protests by vocal citizen groups.”

    The inanimate, ill-defined “neighborhood” is capable of bearing a responsibility, and that is to ignore the wishes of the actual human beings who live there, and then to accept their replacements.

    Can’t make this s*** up.

    • luther blissett

      If residents want to preserve the neighborhood in amber, they should be willing to club together and buy up any property that goes on the market. Pretty sure that if they’ve lived in that area for a while they’re not short of home equity to draw upon.

      “to ignore the wishes of the actual human beings who live there, and then to accept their replacements.”

      Dude, you sound like Tucker Carlson.

  4. Peter Robbins

    This is one of the best commentaries I have ever read in the Xpress. The author’s thoughtful analysis persuaded me. I have one non-expert’s question, though, about the 101 Charlotte Street project: shouldn’t it make use of rooftop solar panels?

  5. NFB

    “The project promises about 180 new residential units (18 of which would be deeded affordable)”

    WOW! 10% will be affordable, 90% will not! Case closed! Thank you so much Killian family for your generosity of 10 whole percent being set aside for the inbred rubes. Are you sure the other 90% are going to want to live so close to the rest of us?

    “Urban density actually reduces traffic congestion by promoting walkability; it also creates the critical mass needed to support better transit options. ”

    It also has proven, and downtown Asheville is a clear example, that density creates affordable housing. I mean downtown Asheville, the most densely developed part of not only Asheville but all of Buncombe County or even WNC is just drenched in the stuff.

    There is nothing about this project that “balances” affordability with historic preservation, despite what the author of this Killian promotion piece wants you to believe. But hey, I’m sure the author would have no problem with plopping down a project like this in HER neighborhood. I mean her neighborhood has a responsibility to accept its share of new, denser residential projects, doesn’t it?

    • NIMBY

      10% will be affordable, 100% will be new supply that our community desperately needs. People are moving here whether we like it or not. We are meeting the skyrocketing demand with denial. We are intentionally restricting supply and driving up prices. To deny new density is to support the existing institutional racism omnipresent within our city.

      I don’t love this project either. But I’m tired of “locals” who moved here after 2000 continuing to demonize growth, simply because it isn’t the same city they moved into. Change is inevitable. This city is at a turning point. We need to address it, not just oppose it.

      • NFB

        So people who moved here before 2000 can demonize growth? Or how about natives, can they oppose this?

        I’m a native (as if that matters) and for the record I don’t oppose every aspect of this project. I have concerns but I also recognize that things do change. What ticks me off if the arrogance and condescension of the developers and their apologists, such as this column.

      • Adam Rosen

        You’re not a real Ashevillian until you unself-awarely rage about people who came after you.

    • Living Asheville

      Having lived in my fair share of similarly converted old houses in Montford and elsewhere like these… they are pretty crappy housing. Carved up layouts, sound transference, let alone not really safe as they are grandfathered in and do not require being ADA complainant or have fire sprinklers (unlike new builds). My heating and cooling bills were insane. The apartment was ‘naturally affordable’ as there were so many expenses and impact to live there. These particular houses need to be viewed as what they are – and that is as naturally ‘affordable’ but not really helpful housing compared to this proposed development. As a neighbor, and resident, working professional – these houses should not receive preference over more housing, better use of the corridor, an active area. I do not see this as a Killian promotion piece… this article is very aligned with quite a number of our neighbors.

  6. Felix Babbins

    I agree with Ms. Hyatt. If our older neighborhoods and older parts of downtown are going to be deemed “not able to accommodate growth”, and our local government allows private out-of-town developers to come in and tear down the very areas that attract tourists and these “new neighbors” (we’re all so thrilled about “wink wink nod nod”), then as Ms. Hyatt pointed out, those private developers are being allowed to tear down the very areas, buildings, settings that give Asheville the character “our new neighbors” are moving here for. I say all new development be only within a certain perimeter of downtown so our local government and their private developers leave the rest of Asheville the h*ll alone!! Others moving here that don’t want to live within that perimeter can build an actual house themselves outside that perimeter. If they can’t afford to buy or build outside that perimeter then they need not move here. I’m so sick of people moving here then complaining that affordable housing can’t be found. Then they, local government and developers don’t see a problem with taking from those of us who’ve lived here all their lives. Bulldozing large growth forests, our mountains, our old neighborhoods, etc., etc. I’m sick of it. But only the local government seems to think that’s all a good idea, because those of us who have lived here all our lives and have done so because we love it here never will. I’d love to tell every person thinking about moving here to go away … we’ve had enough change.

    • Living Asheville

      Ha – having grown up here… there are days I feel the same. But gosh, do you remember when the Grove Arcade was fenced off? The Haywood Park Hotel was boarded up? The AC Hotel was a parking garage? Biltmore Village was sleepy? Barley’s was the only spot downtown? I am thankful that the additional folks coming, visiting – and even staying – have added to the economy, we have more industry other than hospitality than when I grew up here. More folks are coming… and I would much prefer to welcome them into our neighborhood in adding density than see more mountainsides and country land populated by ‘anywhere-ville’ apartment complexes and subdivisions. This property, when you actually dig into the plans as they were shown in the P&Z meeting, actually makes good use of the land, topography, and helps meet more missing middle in housing. While initially striking… I and a host of neighbors are actually excited about this proposal.

      • Felix Babbins

        When I said a certain perimeter, I should have gone ahead and said that if I had my say, the perimeter I’d like local government and private developers to be confined to would be just around the immediate area of downtown. Which I personally have never considered Charlotte St. part of downtown.

        Another point would be to say all the “new neighbors” also bring with them all the more cars congesting our roads. And no ya’ll, it don’t matter what roads anybody would talk about, they’re all congested … parking in the road instead of driveways, traffic jams starting at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. And for years now we’ve needed better infrastructure on our roads. But no, let’s advertise Asheville even more so we have more cars, more building, more people, more crowding, more, more, more.

        Change for the sake of change is a blind endeavor to me.

        • luther blissett

          I’d guess the main reason you’ve never considered Charlotte Street part of downtown is because 240 is a gash through the city. (Urban freeways are bad.) It had a streetcar line going right up to the Grove Park Inn until the 1930s, which tells you it was considered a main corridor for a classic streetcar suburb. That was then and this is now, of course. But you probably didn’t consider the South Slope part of downtown a decade ago.

    • luther blissett

      ” I say all new development be only within a certain perimeter of downtown”

      101 Charlotte is within a geographical perimeter that includes the Harris Teeter on Merrimon and the fancy apartments opposite the NAPA Auto Parts on Broadway. Anyway, define “new development” — does it include additions on residential housing? Converting homes into apartments, or into offices (like many on that stretch of Chestnut Street) with additional parking?

  7. Mike R.

    The author makes some good points regarding 101 Charlotte.

    In my opinion, the saving of the old houses is misguided opposition. First and foremost, that approach is not at all economically practical when considering the development potential of that land at that location. Period. And even for historical house lovers, these houses are nothing to crow about; big, boxy; lacking significant architectural character.

    The 101 Charlotte developers have done a lot of nice things in their design; heads and tails over the prior monolith proposed by another developer for the Fuddruckers property.

    But the main issue should be the height and shear scale of this and any development on Charlotte. At 5 stories, the sun won’t shine on Charlotte until after mid-day. And what about the nearby houses/neighbors? They too sill be shadowed out by these tall structures.
    Approve another sized project at Fuddruckers and there won’t be much sun at all during the day; a shadowed canyon. And citizens have a valid fear that once started, this sort of development will march down Charlotte, combined lots, one after another. A death from a thousand cuts. Charlotte (city) can attest to that outcome.

    In my opinion, the main driver for such a tall and large project is greed. No one likes to say that, but it is true. I have no doubt, a smaller project could still be reasonably profitable for the owner(s). Maybe it wouldn’t have some of the “amentities” of the current project, but it would have one greater amenity – reasonable scale for both the Charlotte streetscape as well as adjoining neighbors.

    Is that too much to ask for?

    • Living Asheville

      Goodness… I SO wish the 101 Charlotte St and 130 Charlotte St proposals were more aligned. Given that the density of this project is in the western part of the land… this area will actually receive the first light of the day. In watching the P&Z hearing, given the natural downward slope of the land down to Charlotte St… and the grading to bring the mixed use building to the pedestrian level along Charlotte St – the comparative height of what is proposed to what is already there is not much different. While I am not a fan of 130 Charlotte St proposal of the Fuddruckers site… the benefit here is that the building is set back so between 101 and 130 – from what I can tell – sunlight will likely shine in as many neighbors yards as it does.
      Both of these proposals bring more residents… and is actually an exciting part for many of my neighbors. What the PSABC has been proposing would turn our residential neighborhood into another Biltmore Village… reusing the buildings but the ‘neighborhood’ dies. I really wish they looked into the care our residential neighborhood needs.

  8. NFB

    “But limiting development hinders cities’ long-term success, which is why Portland and Minneapolis have completely abandoned low-density, single-family zoning.”

    According to public information readily available to anyone with an internet connection, the author of this piece lives in a very low-density, single family zoned neighborhood well within the city limits of Asheville. So I’m sure she will have no problem with her a big chuck of her neighborhood getting razed for a project of this scale since she and her neighborhood “has a responsibility to accept its share of new, denser residential project.”

    • Living Asheville

      Well… that may be true about where she lives.. but as a neighbor who lives just a handful away from where this 101 Charlotte St is proposed… I and many of my neighbors would LOVE to have this. The targeted older homes are not actually a ‘big chunk’ of the neighborhood… and would actually prefer the new live/work, missing middle, and multimodal aspects this project would bring.

    • luther blissett

      This is a cheap ad hominem and you know it.

      Would a project like this be appropriate on Liberty Street? Hardly. How about Central Avenue on the site of the law and insurance office park? Maybe. If you drew a Venn diagram of the people who vocally objected to the Charlotte St road diet and those opposed to this project, how big of an overlap do you think there’d be? Either that section of Charlotte Street is a corridor or it isn’t.

      • YIMBY NAVL Resident

        “If you drew a Venn diagram of the people who vocally objected to the Charlotte St road diet and those opposed to this project, how big of an overlap do you think there’d be? Either that section of Charlotte Street is a corridor or it isn’t.”

        Brilliant point. Exactly!

      • Stephen Hendricks

        The article was well written and an articulate defense of the New Urbanism. I agree with most of the principles outlined in the article and like the reference to Jane Jacobs. Her activism and writing certainly helped to discredit the old planning model of urban renewal and wiping out neighborhoods with a heavy-handed approach that had disastrous consequences that are still with us today. The steps (road diet) toward making Charlotte Street a “complete street” have been a success so far and could lead to it being a green corridor with more street trees, etc.

        However, there are several things that are not addressed in the proposal or article. I don’t follow that with this scale of proposal why the Asheville Arms isn’t completely rebuilt to much larger size to accommodate more housing. Putting a small percentage of “affordable” housing in the complex is nice but is just a drop in the bucket. Jane Jacobs advocated for organic mixed use neighborhoods where people live, work, and play. It seems like there is still room for some improvement in this proposal to make it more palatable and a better fit for the neighborhood. Although it might not be the case here, some developers following the New Urbanism approach have created some truly awful architecture. It looks like that might happen across the street on the Fuddrucker’s property. The latest proposal is a fake Tudor monstrosity that let’s hope was designed by someone from out of town and a better proposal will take it’s place.

        Asheville is in the process of building it’s future. It’s going to be denser city. But will it be a better city? One major thing missing now is an articulated approach to building Asheville’s green infrastructure
        and improving it’s tree canopy. If we don’t follow through with that we’re going to have a much hotter city in the summer and just be an urban heat island with lots more flooding than we have now. That will be our New Urbanism. We won’t have to worry about summer tourists or people moving here to escape climate change.

    • Taxpayer

      Yes! Beaver Lake would be a great area for this huge 5 story mixed use complex. Lakeshore Drive residents would welcome it with open arms I’m sure.

  9. WNC

    Oh the desire to follow the Portland and Minneapolis plan for development. It takes two German shepherds and little more to walk to the grocery store (where they haven’t been burned out or had to close) and return home.

  10. Voirdire

    I love the patronizing tone of this… got to house the servants somewhere after all. I don’t suppose the “admittedly banal” worker’s quarters will be raised to a commanding five stories as well?
    Well, okay, sure….. onward…. “The project promises about 180 new residential units (18 of which would be deeded affordable), roughly 45,000 square feet of office and retail space, structured parking for 400 cars, and rehabilitating 56 existing workforce housing units in the admittedly banal Asheville Arms Apartments.”

  11. Colleen Gilgenbach

    Asheville and it’s lousy transportation system does not allow for living without a car. I’m glad they are including parking.
    The houses they are removing are in a deplorable state. Why can slum landlords just collect their rent and just allow a place to become that run down? Good riddance

    • Helen Hyatt

      The current slum lord, has been the owner since 1980, and is now the developer. Bought the houses, collected the rent, and then left then to rot, so that they would be ready to be torn down when the development is ready to go. Pretty good long range plan for a developer.

  12. kw

    Isn’t it time we develop all the golf courses and dig up all those spooky cemeteries wasting valuable land close to town?

    • luther blissett

      Snark aside, there are a bunch of surface parking lots in what’s unquestionably downtown that sit underused while the owners wait for developers to come knocking. They contribute to the urban heat island effect and stormwater drainage issues. If you have any ideas on how to make the owners sell up for dense infill development, I’m sure they’d be well received.

      • Adam Rosen

        Land value taxes. Would love to see the city take up this cause. It’s amazing to me that sites like the 492–502 block of Merrimon Avenue (where the former Ace of Spades Tattoo was) have been sitting idle (and in the case of the Merrimon property, bombed out) for years. Ditto the gigantic parking lot on Charlotte across from City Bakery and the former Stein Mart complex. Such unproductive use of land on prime transit/walking/biking corridors, all close to downtown.


        • luther blissett

          Oh, I’m already a Georgist, and the founders of modern economics hated the idea of accruing wealth from land without making good use of it. There are too many people sitting on acreage waiting for a call, though, especially in the places that are gerrymandered to elect the NCGA. Eminent domain isn’t the answer either — however tempting it may seem — given its widespread abuse during the era of “urban renewal.”

          “You may sit down and smoke your pipe; you may lie around like an idler; you may go up in a balloon, or down a hole in the ground. Yet without doing one stroke of work, without adding one iota to the wealth of the community — in ten years you will be rich! In the new city you may have a luxurious mansion. But among its public buildings, will be an almshouse.”


  13. Felix Babbins

    I think the foundation of most of our grumbles are based within this scenario: little quaint city just existing being happy, outsiders visit, like it, start moving here. Before long little city starts gaining weight and groans and flexes to accommodate new growth, all the old timers living here don’t like it, they start pushing back against growth and the growing pains, they like their lives and the way they live, newcomers are blissfully unaware of any problems they’ve created, old timers feel pushed out and left out. So, we all know change happens to everything and everybody. It’s just hard to watch something you love, the city you grew up in, become unfamiliar. So humans, for the most part, are creatures of habit and some thrive in the past and others with progress. It’s just hard for some of us to accept that the way the city is, or was, isn’t good enough to keep. Some of us just wish we could say “this is mine, ya’ll go do your own thing somewhere else” … that’s all.

  14. StephenH

    Although there are positive things in the proposal as I mentioned in an earlier comment, it has several strikes against it. I’m not sure if any pre-work was done with the neighborhood or Preservation Society. It seems like this proposal dropped out of the sky and plopped down on Charlotte Street to maximize it’s return to the owners/developers. No wonder many people are opposed on any grounds from increased traffic, to the loss of the mature trees on that block, to the loss of the early 20th century buildings. It comes across as a rather arrogant proposal.
    Not everyone will be happy with major changes and convinced that smart growth and new urbanism principles are a good things no matter what is proposed. However, there seem to be some design options that might make the project more palatable. One option would be for the project to save some of the existing streetscape on its block and contribute to streetscape improvements further north or south on the east side of Charlotte Street as well. If we want people to walk or bike into town and around the neighborhood then it would help to induce them to do so. I don’t see any green roofs or roof gardens on the proposed buildings. More buildings and more paving equals more heat in the summer and more storm water runoff/flooding that we all will suffer from. The cumulative impact of hard surfaces in cities has to be balanced with open green space and tree canopy to make a city livable and sustainable.

  15. AHS Class of '92 Cougar Pride

    Mrs Hudson and the Killian family have been longtime friends. Mrs Hudson, and the Killian’s son Frank attended school together until graduating from AHS in ’92. Their connection was not mentioned in the article. It’s obvious that the Killian family commissioned, this very eloquent PR piece, by an obviously knowledgeable authority, to lend some kind of credence to their wildly unpopular, and inappropriate Charlotte St cash grab.
    I say a little more unbiased voice is needed in this matter.

  16. Sadie Sondgerath

    Oh, so sorry, Laura, I didn’t know you lived in my neighborhood. I live right next door to the proposed development and I will have demolition and new construction if this pathetic project goes through. I’ve been here 14 years and my well-cared for home will be 100 next year and is listed in the National Historic Registry. Where are you?

  17. Bill Eakins

    The developer has made a conditional zoning application to build significantly more than that developer could build “as of right.” The increased square footage is worth, do the math, several million dollars to the developer. It is perfectly reasonable, when the community is being asked through its city council to grant valuable rights, to discuss the various aspects of what is in it for Asheville and what might be done better. Diversity of opinion is to be treasured and encouraged. Deflection from the issues of this proposal, suggesting that anyone contributing to the discussion is somehow an invalid participant and efforts to railroad this or any other application through does not serve the best interests of our city.

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