City needs careful, intentional change

I am writing to say that I deeply oppose the sale of public parkland in Pack Square to developer Stewart Coleman of Black Dog Realty. I am a small-business owner, and I am very invested in the economic growth of this city. However, if we are not very careful and intentional about change, Asheville will cease to be the very special place we live [in] now and [will] become the same as every other city in the country.

I feel we cannot sacrifice the green space in Pack Square. It was preserved by George Pack for a purpose, and this must be protected. Isn’t there enough building around Pack Square? Is it necessary to cut down more trees, decrease the amount of open space and increase, yet again, the amount of traffic downtown before we create a solid, environmentally safe way to deal with parking and public transportation? These are the questions I beg City Council members to ask themselves.

In closing, please don’t sell our green space! We need it, we want it and so will the future residents of this city.

— Sarah Benoit

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7 thoughts on “City needs careful, intentional change

  1. lokel

    The question I have, and I have not seen any information regarding it is this: Where exactly are the “property lines” that designate the specific acreage that Mr. Pack willed to the people of Buncombe County?

    In the many articles, in this publication and others, no one has produce a plot or property line illustration that correctly shows this “park.”

    Why is this the case?

    Does a true plot with property lines exist? If not than why is the discussion continuing?

    Please Express, do a little digging on this and let us know.

  2. DonM

    You are correct that the actual boundaries of the original bequest are unknown. A cursory look at historical photographs show a plethora of cconstruction on the purported plot described in the deeds. Where are the surveying stakes? Who knows.

    Additionally, as I and others have posted several times earlier, forever doesn’t always mean forever in property law. North Carolina has Laws Against Perpetuities that usually span about 90 years. As well, the definition of “heir” in the context of property law is not what most people think.

    It is thought that “…The trusteeship which Pack established passed through the family after the death of G.W. Pack, to his son, Charles Lathrop Pack and then to Charles’ son Randolph Pack (1890-1956) and after his death to the second son, Arthur Pack (1893-1975) Apparently the maintenance of the Pack trusteeship ended with George Willis Pack’s grandson, Arthur Pack.”

    We’ll see about this soon. The breathless hyperbole and histrionics of several notable windbags and obsfucators on this and the AC-T Topix fora are just great, big, kettles of red herring, IMO. But the truth will be revealed.

    Coleman did nothing wrong. The BC commissioners wish they might have acted differently. And yet, as you point out and ask for information, both the X and AC-T don’t do justice to the issue but instead provide a platform for the windbags to do their shilling and attempt to foment followers to their position.

    I too would love to see a bit more relevance to pertinent aspects of this issue instead of the usual emotion that gets printed daily.

  3. nuvue

    I don’t think Coleman did anything wrong either….but I do think this property would better serve the people of Buncombe if we asked the present owners if they would “sell” it back to Buncombe.
    As I stated earlier, maybe for 5% or so more and Buncombe can admit and right a mistake before it gets blown up any more.
    I hope Coleman can see he will have a fight on his hands to build there and reconsider. The economic climate should also lead him to believe that selling it back may be in his best interest. (and the best for the city)

  4. Gordon Smith

    I don’t know if Coleman did anything “wrong” or not. Meeting with the City Manager since 2005 about leveraging the parkland for a “swap” with the City for Marjorie St. property certainly looks fishy, but that may be all Scott Shuford’s lack of transparency.

    David Gantt, at the Ox Creek Democratic County Commissioner candidate debate, said that the County offered to buy the land back from Coleman, who refused. This means that, despite understanding he acquired the land “mistakenly”, he insists on using the public land anyway.

    There are too many questions and not enough answers.

  5. older than dirt

    How can it be “public land” if Coleman owns it? (He must if the county is offering to buy it back from him.

  6. Gordon Smith

    older, Don,

    The land is in the park.

    The Commissioners sold it “mistakenly”.

    The Commissioners sold public parkland to a private entity.

    The sale is being challenged in court.

    The Commission offered to purchase the land back from Coleman in order to remedy their “mistake”.

    Coleman isn’t interested, evidently.

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