Letter: Asheville deserves better than ‘either/or’ thinking

Graphic by Lori Deaton

If Laura Berner Hudson wanted to mock the people she disagrees with and shut down constructive negotiation about Charlotte Street development, she could not have done better than her article on a “future vision” for Asheville [“Future Vision: 101 Charlotte St. Deftly Balances Conflicting Priorities,” May 19, Xpress].

Referring to the Preservation Society, in continuous service to our community since 1976, as “frantically waving its red-feather logo” on the streets and as part of “an entrenched cultural institution” that is “imposing … revanchist nostalgia” and “static ‘character’” on neighborhoods, she successfully slams the door of community-building — exactly what developers get accused of doing.

So how should we who care passionately about how, not whether, Asheville continues to have residential development, respond to this broadside? By lobbing insults back over the wall her words have built? In my experience, healthy development is always a negotiation and always requires developers to revise their initial ambitious plans. What’s new? There are always other ways to accomplish goals, and together we can find them. But only if we talk.

Asheville deserves better than a constant barrage of either/or thinking, such as the Planning and Zoning member who labeled all newcomers to Asheville as wanting to shut out further development since “they got in first.” This is not true, any more than saying we have to make a binary choice between preservation and development. I encourage Ms. Hudson to reconsider her words and help us all get to the table for constructive solutions that enhance our city.

— Thomas E. Frank


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One thought on “Letter: Asheville deserves better than ‘either/or’ thinking

  1. Reality Strikes

    “Asheville deserves better than a constant barrage of either/or thinking,”

    Good luck with that, Thomas. Your statement utterly exemplifies Asheville. It’s a beautiful place with wonderful amenities but, the very bifurcated population makes it an intolerable place to live for a moderate, rational person. It will not change. That’s why I left after a few years.

    There are primarily two population groups:
    — The longtime local, often provincial, traditionalist, very conservative folks who largely stick to their own and aren’t especially open-minded.
    — The transplanted, mostly uber-liberal, generally disgruntled about something and often militant and virtue-signaling about it. They tend to buy into every hyped and contrived narrative the mainstream media is pumping.

    Neither group is inclined towards independent, critical-thinking nor particularly requiring of facts and reason in making decisions or forming opinions.

    That’s the way it is in metro Asheville. But, something that simply cannot be beat is the coconut milk, chocolate ice cream from the French Broad Choc Lounge. I recently made a specific detour off I-40 on a multi-state drive just to get that treat and it was as awesome as ever!

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