I was disappointed with the Xpress’ report on the [Buncombe County Board of Adjustment] meeting to approve the Aiken Road apartment complex [“Board Approves 296-apartment Complex Off Aiken Road,” Dec. 20]. The article failed to mention the following:
1. In both meetings, the neighbors’ concerns were brushed aside. It appeared that a decision to approve the complex was a foregone conclusion, and the meetings were merely formalities.
2. The DOT study failed to take into consideration the fact that part of the traffic is routed through a private road and, therefore, potentially illegal!
3. The development is not in the character of the neighborhood.
4. The Board of Adjustment is composed of many members who may have a vested interest in the development (e.g., real estate agents). Additionally, they may not be qualified to make decisions about the environmental and local impact.
5. Both developments (Aiken Road apartments and [an adjacent development of 75 single-family units]) are controlled by the same developer and will have a stressful impact on this part of Reems Creek and its ecosystem.
While affordable housing is important, shoving developments through in a covert manner is not the way to present new housing solutions to the community at large.
More likely than not, these developments will result in maximum cost to the local residents, environment and end user, with maximum profit for the developer and owner.
— Rudy Beharrysingh
Editor’s note: We at Xpress agree that the issues surrounding the role of appointed boards like the Buncombe County Board of Adjustment in approving development projects are complex. That’s why we’ve increased our coverage of these issues over the past year, notably “Road Warriors: Buncombe Residents Call for Brake on Traffic Growth” in our Oct. 18 issue. The article Mr. Beharrysingh mentions does include comments from residents unhappy with the proposal and the attorney who is representing two neighbors. While we understand many residents were disappointed in the outcome of the board’s deliberations, we believe our story impartially reported on the main points raised at the meeting. We also covered the first time this project was discussed at the Board of Adjustment in “Apartments Stall, Townhomes Get Green Light” in the Nov. 15 Xpress. In addition, we have recently published several letters to the editor on this topic.