Council’s hearing on McKibbon hotel was a sham

The public hearing at the City Council meeting on Sept. 11 was a sham. There was a 15-minute break after the hearing for Council members to deliberate. Four of them came back with well-prepared statements in favor of the McKibbon hotel group constructing a new hotel on Haywood Street.

Marc Hunt had even added an additional half hour to the open hearing, as if comments by Asheville residents were important to him. Though many of his past statements about the proposal have seemed conciliatory rather than direct, it's been clear for a while that he's in favor of a McKibbon hotel being built across from the Basilica of St. Lawrence.

It's unfortunate that this Council, elected to represent Asheville citizens, has disregarded the results, taken from valid surveys: The vast majority of Asheville residents do not want a hotel on this site. Cecil Bothwell, however, has consistently considered the views of Asheville tax payers and given plausible reasons against this proposal. I'm glad that Mayor Bellamy joined him in voting against it.

One can only hope now that the Basilica will have recourse when its dome does crack during construction, particularly if there's an underground parking structure. Though it's not a given, I say “when” instead of “if” because the group in charge of construction will be the same hotel group who will not dim the neon sign on the new Aloft hotel on Biltmore Avenue.

They say the bright light is their "tradition." I question whether the McKibbon hotel group will actually be keeping the best interests of the community — or the integrity of the Basilica's already cracked, unsupported dome — as a priority.

— Marge Renfroe
Asheville

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2 thoughts on “Council’s hearing on McKibbon hotel was a sham

  1. indy499

    This is really a sour grapes commentary rife with inaccuracies and factless assertions. Let’s look at a couple:

    1. By what logic does it follow that a party (apparently) in a dispute over the brightness of a light in one section of downtown, will inevitably damage the dome of a church in another part of downtown during construction of a new hotel? Huh?

    2. Why did the Basilica previously cause a wrecking ball to be used on a property it controlled, which is closer to the dome than the new planned construction will be? Did they damage their own dome? If not, what is different now?

    3. I for one am glad when the city council leads and ignores the biased polls of advocacy groups and the factless arguments made in public hearings.

  2. Politics Watcher

    Thanks to the City Council for offering leadership on this matter and showing integrity in honoring its dealings with The McKibbon Group. The McKibbon Group has listened and come up with a design that is respectful of the basilica and serves the needs of the City to enhance its revenues.

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