Letter: Charlotte Street development: Your quiet street is next

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Will the mayor honor campaign goals to create “form-based code” to support “controlled growth … that will protect the character of neighborhoods and business districts even as we grow to create more opportunities to live, work and raise families” as in other historic cities?

These 18 affordable housing units disappear in 20 years to zero affordable housing. Are people under the impression these developments are all affordable and permanent? They are not. The preservation plan example creates more units and permanent affordable housing! Every visionary city plan with citizen input here was created exactly to prevent this type of intrusion and destruction.

Developers have contempt for “old” plans and for the citizens who developed them, though with majority priorities, including growth within the character of the area, which they never mention. Far from old, the most recent is just implemented with the completion of the “road diet” for safety of walkers, bikers and business patrons.

We are no “gang” (nor in conspiracy about the military-industrial complex as accused by a recent writer), but economically, socially and racially diverse. Cottages, bungalows and apartments hold service staff to students to professionals.

We want development that conforms to the multiple city plans that do not include rezoning. Even “city staff” has recommended this be denied to Planning and Zoning. P&Z has ignored its own staff recommendations to deny it.

Four-story buildings with dense occupancy do not belong on narrow little Charlotte Street. You don’t even see that on crowded, commercial Merrimon Avenue from Claxton to Beaver Lake! Traffic for two developments with almost 400 units is not an “inconvenience,” but a dangerous daily burden. We are a small neighborhood street that began as a small village street and still is.

— Kieta Osteen-Cochrane


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6 thoughts on “Letter: Charlotte Street development: Your quiet street is next

  1. Robert

    Current politicians (not leaders) seem to be cavalierly kicking a great many cans down the road for future office holders and future generations to trip over…that is, if said roads are not too congested to reach the cans.

  2. luther blissett

    I appreciate the letter-writer’s contributions as a local historian, but it is hard to reconcile “small village street” with “had a streetcar line.” The houses in question were built… adjacent to a streetcar line.

    A contemporary description of Albermarle Park emphasizes how it combines seclusion with easy access to the city center.

    “Albemarle Park is situated in the northern part of Asheville, on the western slope of Sunset Mountain. It is on the line of the Charlotte Street trolley cars which operate a regular fifteen minute schedule. It is one mile from the center of the city, about two and a half miles from the depot of the Southern Railway, and only 250 yards from the golf links of the Swannanoa Country Club. The trolley cars reach the city in ten minutes and continuing without transfer arrive at the railway station in fifteen minutes more…”

    “A location on the paved streets of a city usually means annoyance from the noise and dust of a busy thoroughfare; in Albemarle Park the smooth macadam roads attract a moderate amount of pleasure driving, but there is not heavy business traffic.”


    Residents of a neighborhood will tend to have a more expansive definition of “residential” than non-residents, but to describe Charlotte Street as a “small village street” is to play fast and loose with its history.

      • luther blissett

        You’re welcome. It seems clear enough that the Manor Inn and Albermarle Park were intended to have the best of both worlds. It’s not like Town Mountain Road. I suppose there’s an argument that Charlotte Street up to the Manor is comparatively less commercial than it was, but that’s different than implying it’s always been “a small village street.”

        The point about “streetcar suburbs” is that the streetcar had to go somewhere. In places with subways you get isolated high-density clusters around stations; urban surface rail and especially freeways tend to carve up the space; streetcar suburbs provide corridors for mixed use development.

        The headline doesn’t really describe the substance of the letter, but if there were ever plans to put that kind of development on Murdock Ave or Albermarle Rd then I’d oppose them. (I wouldn’t oppose tearing up the Grove Park Inn golf course and building houses there.)

  3. North Asheville

    “You don’t even see that on crowded, commercial Merrimon Avenue from Claxton to Beaver Lake! ”
    The letter writer has overlooked the major low-income housing “towers” on Larchmont, across from the Fire Station, immediately off (and visible) from Merrimon.
    And the apartments formerly known as Edgewood Knoll, while only two stories, because of their perch on the knoll certainly “tower” over Merrimon. They’ve been there since the post-war period, when returning servicemen and women needed housing.
    Not sure who wrote “Your quiet street is next.” Charlotte Street has never been a quiet street. And what about the Manor Inn Apartments? How many stories are they?
    Maybe if the developers had modeled their next project on Charlotte Street after the Manor Inn, there would have been less opposition.

  4. ashevillain7

    “We are a small neighborhood street”

    I’m sorry, but no, Charlotte St. is not a small neighborhood street.

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