It seems finally the rapid, unchecked development/housing boom we have been experiencing here in and around Asheville has become enough of a concern that it’s filling letters, commissioner and city meetings, campaign rhetoric, articles and so forth. I just read “Cutting Through the Clamor: Asheville Needs Less Shouting, More Listening,” [June 16, Xpress]. Oh what a levelheaded, community building, let’s-make-everybody-happier approach Ms. Liss offers.
What she seems to be ignorant about and why “people are screaming at officials” is the fact that the cards aren’t stacked fairly. Ultimately, favoritism is handed toward developers and bottom lines, while major impacting projects are slipped past under the radar. People don’t get a fair chance to oppose such, let alone win.
Another letter spoke of how south and east of Asheville were filled up, but there was still room here to the north [“Hoping That Asheville Isn’t ‘Sold Out,’” June 16, Xpress]. Well. Not for long, at the rate Weaverville is booming. I have owned my little acre for 31 years now. Worked really hard pouring my money, love and sweat into it. Raised my daughter here. Buried 10 pets over the years. Planted trees, shrubs and flowers. Many slow-growing wildflowers. Built my fabulous studio. Not something I can easily walk away from. (Plus, I’m old now.)
Last year, 12 houses went in at the beginning of my road. One was built directly across from my neighbor friends. The new neighbors put up a tall privacy fence that completely blocks the view of the sunsets my friends once enjoyed on their little porch. Now the new house has the view. The owners are oblivious of what they ruined. Four other houses have gone in. Two directly above and behind me are being constructed as I type. The deer I enjoyed left. The top of the hill was bulldozed and carved up, and only one ancient oak remains. I think. There were four. My peace has been shattered, and I worry houses will go in right next to me. I need these woods. Not more people. I have valid concerns for my old well, which is only 90 feet deep.
Driving to Asheville for work, I’m experiencing the same traffic gridlocks mentioned in still another letter [“Dense Development Will Ruin Asheville Forever,” June 9, Xpress], and now I avoid downtown at all costs. It’s painful watching tourists with their bags stepping over homeless people as if they aren’t there. I moved here in ’83 when downtown was dead. I was happy to see the renovations and vibrancy when it first started to be revived. But now it’s gone the way of faux hip for the well-to-do. And even the RAD is pricing out the very artists that turned it in to something to begin with.
Weaverville is bumper to bumper on its two main roads. With apartments, condos and subdivisions going in everywhere. Great job, Weaverville! You were my alternative place to run errands to Asheville. Now where?
What’s being done to farmlands and mountains here is irreversible. It will come back to bite us. With more droughts, flash floods and water issues. Mudslides, too. My home that I have loved so dearly is being inundated, and quality of life ruined before my eyes. My little sanctuary that brought me escape and peace violated. While houses go up with no regard how they affect their neighbors.
Yeah, people are screaming. They tried following the rules to get their voices heard and have been mostly ignored. Time and again, our local politicians sell out. It’s not an even playing field. And. It’s not sustainable. The fragile ecology of WNC will be devoured. By ever-increasing human numbers and the climate change they cause. And I feel utterly helpless as I watch it all unfold.
— Troy Amastar