“For greed all nature is too little.” — Seneca, Roman philosopher
Greed is the basis of the planned destruction of 13 historically valuable homes along Charlotte Street. Greed, thinly cloaked in the subterfuge of “affordable housing,” will eradicate part of an old and established neighborhood forever, leaving behind a development of roughly 180 apartments and commercial space.
Growth in Asheville is inevitable, but growth can be for the good or it can be cancerous. This development — if approved — is growth of the second type. With this plan, there will be nothing left of the area that was: leisurely strolls beneath stately old trees, folks tending their yards, sitting on porches, time marking its passage gently, as it has for over a century.
The Killian family’s hired-gun lawyer’s case falls into two categories: the need to raze buildings not worth salvaging and the need for affordable housing. The affordable housing problems of Asheville will not be solved by destroying our heritage. Other areas remain for such development. If the houses are in disrepair, it is because the Killian family has spent 30 of their 45 years here amassing the block of real estate on which the houses stand, then allowing them to fall into the disrepair they now claim makes them worthless. Accumulating 13 contiguous homes over 30 years is not accidental. …
Let growth occur, but not where it destroys our birthright. If these houses are torn down, the loss will be forever. The charm of the Charlotte Street area is part of what makes us valuable to the tourist economy. No one comes here to see affordable housing or a shopping mall. They want to see the Asheville of their imaginations: of Thomas Wolfe, of the Vanderbilts, River Arts and Shindig on the Green, restaurants and breweries, we colorful and eccentric locals. All this, plus our mountains and outlying towns, are what make us uniquely us. A quirky bumper sticker reads: “Keep Asheville Weird.” Better said might be, “Keep Asheville, Asheville.”
I write this with the heartfelt hope that our City Council will vote no on this project. We must grow, but we can grow intelligently and where it is proper, not through the destruction of what is good.
— Olin Blankenship