It’s not rocket science, folks. A perfect storm of developers in a frenzy to cash in on a city run amok with breweries, one restaurant after another, sometimes several on the same block. A complacent or compliant, take your pick, City Council and a development lawyer as mayor, a City Council that basically goes along to get along, pays little or no attention to the complaints from concerned citizens in those neighborhoods affected by the impact of the changes they approve. Why? Because the first seat at the table belongs to developers, breweries and hoteliers.
So apartment complex after apartment complex will be plugged into any and every space that’s not already occupied. To people affected by the decisions of the mysterious “staff,” the Board of Adjustment and all the various departments, including Buncombe County: Sorry, this is progress, and if you’re waiting for this present political cabal of bad actors to act any differently than the ones in Washington, if you think that at some point they are going to behave like genuine stewards of this natural resource, never going to happen.
If these projects ran through The Ramble or Biltmore, these issues would not be up for discussion. So in the name of progress, neighborhoods are being displaced, communities’ concerns are being ignored, and the people charged to serve the greater good have given over to the avarice of so-called “progress.” I believe there is a “law of diminishing returns,” and people will see through the vulgarization of Asheville at some point and vote out the people who allowed it to happen.
— Jesse Junior
Editor’s note: Xpress contacted the mayor and members of Asheville City Council for a response to a summary of the letter writer’s points. Council member Vijay Kapoor offered the following statement, noting that he was speaking for himself, not the entire Council: “Though Asheville City Council is constrained by laws passed by the North Carolina General Assembly as to the development restrictions we can implement, Council has taken steps to ensure that neighborhoods have input into development, including requiring developers to meet with affected neighbors before any project is approved. This has allowed for community input and has also resolved many potential issues. In my view, the city and Buncombe County need to do a better job coordinating development in areas that border the city, since the county has less restrictive development rules than the city and does not require developers to meet with affected neighbors. I will be working hard this year to try to make that happen.”