Twenty-five years ago, my dear wife and I purchased our home within a block of the now proposed, highly controversial Charlotte Street development project. Our friends thought that we were out of our minds to buy such a place, as they helped move furniture and boxes into this long neglected house. Even the sellers confided that amid their 50-year ownership of the house, their strategy had become “plant big trees in the front yard so the city doesn’t condemn it.”
Through many difficult and creative projects, this house became our beloved home, serving five generations of loved ones.
Nearly all of the homes that surround the proposed Charlotte Street development share a similar history of rigorous restoration leading to a deeply loved home. However, there are a few exceptions. These are the homes on Charlotte Street and Baird Street belonging to the Killian family.
Dr. Killian gained our respect for his careful maintenance of their properties, except those on the 100 Charlotte Street block and Baird Street. After his untimely death in 1998, the Killian family continued to neglect those properties for the next 23 years. Many of our neighborhood houses would look equally dilapidated now if we had willfully neglected them for that long. …
Now the Killians and RCG (Boston) partnership want to override the current zoning that took years of neighborhood meetings, city meetings, extensive planning and the assistance of nationally respected city planners to create. The Killian/RCG proposal is dissonant in scale, style, environmental impact and traffic flow. This area is clearly incapable of handling the traffic generated by 192 units and multiple commercial sites. This proposal is also incompatible to the Asheville city government’s Living Asheville: A Comprehensive Plan for Our Future.
As a neighborhood, many of us would likely extend our heartfelt support for a development project that respects the hard work, discernment and collective visioning of our neighborhood citizens and abides by the present zoning that we have worked so diligently to create. There is abundant space for new infill buildings. The historic houses on Charlotte Street are certainly still restorable and could be transformed into attractive and welcome businesses/residences that further the vitality of the Charlotte Street corridor. To override the present zoning and allow the proposed project would create a very dangerous precedent for the entire Charlotte Street corridor.
Why not work together together to honor the history, hard work and careful planning that our neighborhood and city have generated to value and vitalize the Charlotte Street corridor as the unique neighborhood that so many of us have come to treasure?
— Richard Koerber