Many thanks to Mountain Xpress for presenting a range of views on the proposed Charlotte Street development. Representing unabashed elitism, Annelise Mundy contends that hotel workers and others who cannot afford Asheville rents should just live elsewhere, away from the city center or in surrounding counties [“Dense Development Will Ruin Asheville Forever,” June 9].
She warns us that Asheville is becoming another Austin, but she seems to want it to be another Ashland — I refer to the town in southern Oregon where housing has become so expensive that most who work there must drive in from 20 or 30 miles away. Ms. Mundy also seems not to consider that more housing farther out means more destruction of forests and farmland, as well as more traffic and more carbon in the atmosphere (since those living far from work and amenities must make more frequent and longer car trips).
Jessie Landl offers a more reasonable argument in opposition to the project, and she makes a good point about how little low-income housing it will create [“What Is Smart Growth? A Better Solution for Charlotte Street,” June 9]. But unlike her own proposal for the site, the development would make many homes available to middle-income people who cannot afford a free-standing house in a centrally located neighborhood. And I’m afraid her article, too, has a whiff of elitism, when she quotes a historic preservation advocate who claims that you can’t build affordable housing without building “crap.”
The essential facts are: The development is to be built on a main road, in the middle of a long-established commercial strip; it will not destroy some quiet neighborhood. The houses to be torn down are old but not particularly distinguished; there were will be no significant loss of architectural heritage. New housing units near the urban core and public transportation will be available to middle-income people (and a few low-income people). If such a project is not acceptable to preservationists and neighborhood advocates, it is hard to imagine what sort of development would be.
— Michael Bell