Letter: Asheville is ‘sold out’

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I have been coming to Asheville since I was 7 years old, ending in moving here in 1995. Sad as it is that people want to move here but have no place to stay, it should not be a problem for those of us who have already invested in this city and who live here.

The overdevelopment of the city is demeaning the properties and the lifestyle that those of us who live here already own. So my question is: Why do we have to accommodate more and more people who want to live here? When do we get to the point that we say, “No more space available”? I think that saying this is just fine. Every hotel does it, every resort; even property development companies have to put a closure to their offerings when they are sold out.

Asheville is “sold out,” so go somewhere else to live. There are other places, and I don’t know why we have to coddle everybody who wants to live here, destroying the very essence of why anybody wishes to live here.

It is past time that the greedy developers of the world go somewhere else to hawk their wares. They have already done enough damage to Asheville! If this trend continues, we are going to end up being a junk town where nobody wants to live.

Just say, “No,” and save Asheville!

— M. Branch


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30 thoughts on “Letter: Asheville is ‘sold out’

  1. Shane

    Well I can understand your concern, telling the world that Asheville is sold out is not a solution. Population is rising everywhere in the world including the United states. Overly dense areas like New York and LA are finding residents wanting to go somewhere less crowded. If enough of them do that, and they all come to Asheville then we’ll be just like them with regards to overcrowding. However, people have to have a place to live and closing our doors is not going to help the problem of population growth and lack of affordable housing. Plus it’s just not practical. We will have owners here who need to sell and move. People will either move laterally from one part of town to another or they will move in from another town and take those places. What we could honestly use more of is some high density development that allows for affordable housing for the folks who’ve been here a long time and are struggling to find a home outside of a rental situation.

  2. Jon King

    Based on the author’s dates, it’s clear that 25 years is the cutoff for being able to consider yourself a local, with all the attendant rights to the property of others that status confers.

  3. B.A.

    You should buy every property that you don’t want someone to build on then you have the right to not build any houses on it.

  4. Mike R.

    Don’t fret, it won’t last very long.
    We’re on a 20-30 year timetable for end of affordable fossil fuel. (Actually, it has already started, you just wouldn’t know it from the price of gasoline).
    Then the growth goes in reverse.
    In 50 years if the world survives, we’ll all be living much simpler but harder existences.

  5. John Galt

    All that will do is cause prices for existing homes to increase significantly. Think San Francisco without the huge salaries.

  6. NFB

    “Why do we have to accommodate more and more people who want to live here? When do we get to the point that we say, “No more space available”? ”

    In other words, there should be a law against what you did. It was OK for you to move here but not for anyone else.

    I realize that this is a mentality that many here have, but it is an attitude that is usually expressed less bluntly, so I guess the letter writer gets some credit for dispensing with the subtlety and being honest by going into full throttle arrogance.

    Than again, maybe the letter is satire.

    • Enlightened Enigma

      yes, the letter does seem satirical but satire is the true essence of the AVL, right ?

      AVL is not ‘sold out’ in fact it’s just getting warmed up to vast development, yet unseen. It’s coming and hopefully soon the city can elect some real leaders, instead of progressive democrackkks who only seek to destroy the city as fast as they can. WHY do the democrackkk non leaders hate AVL so much ?

      • NFB

        Because for all their faults Democrats are still a massive improvement over RepubliKlans.

          • NFB

            realignment (ˌriːəˈlaɪnmənt)
            the act or instance of restoring or changing to a previous or different position

            It is called “political realignment” and the two parties have shifted and switched.

            Please. Strive to be smarter.

      • bsummers

        Yes, sing it, Fred “Fisher” Caudle. Everyone knows how hostile Republicans are to vast development.

  7. Mountain Bubba

    Native. Bride is 7 generations local. We are out of here. Rampant growth, and meaner streets. We used to know everyone at Downtown After 5. Now? Strangers.

    Asheville is like Boulder, Moab, Bozeman and host of other US cities, once special, loved to death, and turned into something else.

    • Adam R.

      Respectfully, what do you say to the people in your new, transplanted city who insist it’s “sold out”?

  8. rick

    i have friends who decided not to move here because of crime and lack of police. Seems like problems may have resulted in a fix.

  9. kw

    Funny that greedy right-wing Republicans who want to construct border walls to close out non-whites are the very ones who do not want to be told to keep out. If we can ask the Mexicans and Guatemalans not to come to our country, surely we can suggest that would-be Asheville residents and mega developers like that bankrupt from The Bluffs go find some other place…

    • WNC

      Funny that majority of Americans (of course this includes legal migrants) want border security.
      Funny you question legal Americans moving freely in America but think illegal entrants should be able to ignore and violate both sovereignty and safety of America borders. Surprise KW border laws are based on border law not color.
      So it’s ok to have an open border which carries around 90% of fentanyl to the United States of America but not allow legal residents to conduct legal business ventures?

  10. blueridgeguvnor

    Asheville indeed has “souled out”

    Never seen a city so at war with itself and it’s residents, terrible leadership that constantly gives knee jerk reactions to every situation.

    It’s an angry town now, tragic to see it come to this. Especially when I see the thriving Greenville and Spartanburg downtown areas. What could the difference be ?

    • luther blissett

      One big difference is Michelin and BMW. Another is that people don’t fly across the country to visit Greenville or buy retirement homes there sight-unseen. (And more people who live in Greenville and like living there travel to Asheville than vice versa.) Another is that metro GSP accommodates a lot of suburban and exurban housing construction (which may or may not be ‘sprawl’) due to the relative lack of mountains. Different places are different.

      You could argue that Greenville’s recent downtown revitalization mirrors what Julian Price and John Lantzius did in the 1990s, and that its growing pains are yet to come. Knox White is a capable pragmatist which is why he’s been mayor since 1995, but small-c city governments are often granted much more leeway to use public funds by conservative-run state legislatures than more liberal ones.

      Let’s take a glance at Greenville’s 2021-22 budget priorities: bond-financed capital investments in infrastructure and public spaces; affordable housing; economic development funds and investment in commercial corridors. Oh, and the city gets $21 million from hospitality and accommodations taxes without having to hand it over to an unelected, unaccountable TDA. That must be nice.


  11. carboncopy

    I dont have any problem with people moving to Asheville, as long as they arent photocopies of each other. Walking through downtown you see literally almost all white people, all dressed similarly, all walking at the same pace, and what is more frightening, possibly all thinking the same way. This kind of conformity is not healthy mentally. It probably related to California, a very superficial state, and whats worse is that with all the diversity in california, you have only one specific type of californian moving here. Im glad they are creating a california “exit tax” that will tax them for ten years after they leave the state.

    • WNC

      So as long as people conform to your idea non/-conformity (which includes racism and quotas) that’s except-able to you. Great!

  12. Jay

    Asheville ALWAYS been a sell out! Ive been here since 04 and 1 thing’s stood the test of time; aint nobody wants to talk to you if u aint got money 💰! It just seems more obvious now that BIGGER money’s coming in and you’re getting priced out…

  13. James

    You should go see other cities… every city on earth has been ruined by new people, I’ve seen it happen all over.

  14. Gordon

    Asheville City is run like a chicken with it’s head cut off.
    Asheville Council votes like they are in a shoot out. They seldom engage with anyone other than their pals, and come to meetings unprepared on the topics.
    Their constantly changing decisions gives the City whiplash. They can never get anything accomplished before another new and dumber idea comes across.
    It is souled out, and sold out, it is full.
    It should not be existing residents problem to find and find housing for anyone who wants to move here, let them work it out for themselves, if they can work it out then go for it, but dont tax legacy residents out of their homes to give another large developer from Florida a tax break for a few ‘pretend affordable units’.
    Asheville has rapidly gone from interesting cesspool of sin, to yawn, where are we now? Charlotte? Raleigh.
    They may as well stick a McDonalds down town and be done with it.

  15. Richard B.

    Mr./Ms. Branch, I don’t believe that you have to worry much about exponential expansion of Asheville. The current, as well as previous, city council folks are taking care of that problem.
    An earlier responder provided an overview of what Greenville, SC is doing to become the highly rated city in which to live that they continue to improve on.
    Our current Council, with the exception perhaps of Ms. Kilgore, do not have the vision nor the competence of governance to plan, strategize, or execute the steps described for what Greenville is doing.
    Overflowing garbage receptacles, unsavory looking folks stalking the streets at all hours, Battery Park being overtly declared a homeless zone, inane decisions like spending monies on destroying an obelisk that could have been renamed and preserved, with the dollars going to community needs, etc., etc.
    Who will step up to save Asheville?

  16. luther blissett

    Once again: the current mayor of Greenville has been mayor since 1995 and on City Council since 1983. Asheville has had five mayors since 1995. Would you want the same mayor in office for 26 years? Maybe. But 26 years is a long time.

    Once again, cities with more small-c conservative leadership are often granted far greater leeway to spend public money by conservative-run state legislatures. Once again, Greenville can directly use its occupancy / hospitality tax revenues — around 15% of its total budget — instead of handing it over to a TDA to be spent on marketing. You can both criticize City Council for a bunch of dumb decisions and acknowledge that it has unique challenges given its location and history and state politics and the constraints of state law. For instance, Greenville does not have an 8.000 acre hereditary fiefdom where the southwest quarter of the city should be.

    “Who will step up to save Asheville?”

    It costs $75 to file for election to City Council. This is not snark. When you’ve said “somebody needs to do something” a hundred times, maybe you ought to consider what it would take to be that somebody?

    • luther blissett

      I mean: if you see a crime happening or a house on fire or a car wreck, you call 911; if your pipes burst, you call a plumber; if there’s something strange in the neighborhood, you call Ghostbusters.

      If you have a problem with the elected city government, there isn’t some number you can call, and you can’t say “someone should call the people who fix city councils.” What you can do is run for election and make the case to the electorate. And if you think the electorate is the problem, you can always move to Greenville, because what you really want is a dictatorship as long as you’re the dictator.

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