Letter: Let City Council know concerns about green space reduction

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Thank you, Mountain Xpress, for Perrin de Jong’s informative commentary on Dec. 8 [“Pavement or Paradise? Asheville’s Future Is Yours to Decide”]. Remember “Big Yellow Taxi” where the refrain goes, “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. … Paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” What about the trees? “Put ’em in a tree museum. … charged the people a dollar and a half just to see ’em.”

Is there going to be a sellout by City Council on Feb. 8? Not if the seven of them keep their pledges made to the whole of us and remember their own resolutions.

None of them are going to take anything like the money some other passin’ folks are going make at Asheville humanity’s expense if this amendment passes. And shorten this civilization’s life span.

Perrin revealed the cryptically named “open space amendment,” which will effectively reduce open space requirements in Asheville construction. There are further effects such as reduction of our oxygen and H2O. There is a wonderful and direct relationship among soil health, green plants and us humans (and all mammals). In simplest terms, it’s called life. Let City Council not ignore another relationship — between absorption of carbon from the air and the production of oxygen. It’s also called life. (Oh, I had teachers who called it photosynthesis.)

What part of trees and green space, versus impermeable surfaces where water runoff adds to the waste stream of everyday city life, do we dare ignore further? Replacement of tree cover prevents absorption of water into the soil and hence diminishes the aquifer. More of these hardscapes (buildings, asphalt, et al.) causes rising (yes, still rising) temperatures. Will City Council choose to ignore this, instead reinforcing a battle-Mother-Nature mentality?

There is so much wrong with this reduction in green space that I am in horror that it is even being entertained here in Asheville. Considering City Council’s climate-change resilience pledge, just where does their resolution lie?

There should be a 7-0 vote in City Council in defeating this amendment. So, if you are sad and worried about the future of our air, water and health, then contact your City Council at AshevilleNCCouncil@ashevillenc.gov and let them hear you.

— Lawrence Williamson
Asheville

Editor’s note: The city announced Jan. 5 that the open space amendment had been pulled from that evening’s Planning and Zoning Commission agenda. No new date was given for the board to consider it before sending it to City Council, though the commission’s next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 2.

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5 thoughts on “Letter: Let City Council know concerns about green space reduction

  1. Taxpayer

    Our city council is inept and oblivious. Asheville is a hot mess in every direction.

  2. kw

    It should also be *well publicized* that Asheville City Council (minus Kim Roney) completely ignored their own taxpayers of Richmond Hill…
    The city owns a beloved park at Richmond Hill adjoining land that has been very weirdly annexed by the Town of Woodfin and placed into an Opportunity Zone by misguided politicians doing the bidding for greedy developers. That parcel of land is now being threatened by a potential mega development (the Bluffs) that would bring thousands of car trips per day through already heavily trafficked Richmond Hill. The land also adjoins the French Broad river and there will be severe stormwater runoff into the river and surely more erosion to Richmond Hill Park itself (if citizens can even reach it) during the next 8 years of construction. A small group of volunteers has been fighting this development for an entire year. They have kept the Town of Woodfin from stripping away every last protective zoning ordinance, and these volunteers have helped replace several longtime Woodfin incumbents. These brave volunteers have been asking the City of Asheville to protect current and future citizens and really walk the talk of their empty climate pledges. Richmond Hill and River Rescue volunteers have a public Facebook page and also a GoFundMe site. If you want to let your voices be heard, please contact city council about this very specific moment in time and make a donation to help LOCALS save Asheville from itself.

  3. MV

    It is far less costly in the long run to protect existing forests than to engage in the public masturbatory planting of saplings…

  4. Mike R.

    You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Asheville needs higher density housing (of all price levels). I don’t think reducing a bit of green space in the requirements is
    the catastrophe the writer suggests. There will still remain (even within the city) plenty of unbuildable land (green spaces) and we are surrounded by millions of acres of dense forest cover. Regarding storm run-off, requirements exist to catch that storm water and retain it for gradual release into our stormwater system.

    I think the slight reduction in open space makes sense when considering the city’s need of more housing.

    • indy499

      Projections are we add 40 million people in the US by 2045. Some of them are going to be here.

      We get to pick density or sprawl or some of both. Neither is not a choice.

      Density obviously preserves more total green space.

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