Letter writer: Has Asheville changed since the 1950s?

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Plans and visions come and go, but one theme seems to be a constant: “We must protect the character of our neighborhoods. ”

The Comprehensive Plan update might be a good time to reconsider this. A generation after the Clearances, the East End’s character could be described as: “Single-family homes on tiny lots away from Ground Zero, small-to-mid-sized lots closer in. ”

With the completion of 420 apartments, 100 more apartments under construction and whispers of 600 to come, you might imagine that the combination of property speculators, city “planning” staff and Council itself were working to destroy rather than protect the character of our neighborhood.

Or, maybe, that the East End is the pathfinder, and that in the future North Asheville, West Asheville, South Asheville and East Asheville will each host 1,000 new apartments — something that would make a significant hole in the city’s housing deficit. But that seems unlikely — the cries of the NIMBYs would be deafening.

Or, perhaps, that the East End’s history has something to do with it. And that Asheville hasn’t changed much at all since the early 1950s.

— Geoff Kemmish

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