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