No doubt you have already noticed that with the passing of each year, there is less and less of what many of us love the most about living in Asheville. The nature. The destruction happens faster and faster each year. Look well upon every tiny little nook and cranny where a few trees provide habitat for often-unnoticed species. Because such places will all be gone in just the next few years.
The thinking among the powers that be seems to be, “if we just get rid of that fragment of nature, then we can build a bunch of houses on it and make some quick money.” As many as 10 on an acre. And a couple of things are worth pointing out here. First, these ugly houses never blend in with the landscape or the character of our town. Second, how many existing houses are on the market here at any given time? I see them all over the place, right alongside all the destruction. And these new atrocities are priced such that local people can scarcely even afford them.
Asheville voters imagine that they know what to expect when they vote for the person with the “D” next to their name. But let me tell you, it stands for DOLLARS, because that is what they care about. Asheville voted for a development lawyer for mayor. And one City Council member prides himself on being a supporter of “population density.” If they succeed in remaking Asheville based on what they want, then Asheville will look like Raleigh in less than a decade.
In West Asheville, there remain a very few small areas that are wooded. One of the very last of these is at the end of Shelburne Drive off Sand Hill Road. It is basically a gravel driveway. It ends about 200 feet from Sand Hill Road, where there is a forest that slopes steeply down to a creek. This forest is home to foxes, a herd of deer, a bear, 0possums and raccoons, a pair of hawks that nest there every year and five species of woodpeckers. The creek itself is home to still more wildlife, including a couple of species of darters and four species of salamanders.
This is all about to be destroyed to make way for a “major subdivision,” consisting of nine houses. A small sign is in place there, where no one would ever see it, informing the public about [last week’s] meeting regarding zoning. …
Humans need natural, undisturbed areas as much as other animals do. It is a fact that humans need the solace of nature for our own mental and emotional well-being. Infinite growth is not sustainable. This scientific principle applies to all systems. If the people of Asheville have the character that I believe you do, then you will take a stand while there’s something left to save.
— Joseph Nolan