City on the brink

The blood is in the water: The ink is barely dry on the Ellington disaster when another (ugh) developer is shopping his vision for Asheville to our elected officials. His vision? More high-rise, twenty-plus story buildings in downtown Asheville.

I will be curious to see how much more the voters in Asheville will allow the developers to do to change this city into the New York City of the mountains.

So far I’m not optimistic. The voters in Asheville have taken apathy to another level. Turnout in the 20 percentile in the last election? Third World countries have a better voting record, and our elected officials—and business sectors—who seem to swoon like lovesick teenagers whenever a developer comes courting will be of no help in this latest assault on the limited resources and space of the city.

“Upward density” seems to be the catch phrase for the proponents of so-called “smart growth.” I propose another: “Density is density, no matter the direction.”

My prediction: City Council and the county commissioners will fold like a cheap deck of cards and acquiesce to every developer now that the precedent has been set with The Ellington, and the voters will do absolutely nothing about it. Not only that, [the voters] will continue to elect the same people by their apathy and nonparticipation in the process.

So the axiom is true. We get the government we deserve and, in this case, the city we deserve. And yes, if I’m still around, I will say I told you so.

— Jesse Junior


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8 thoughts on “City on the brink

  1. travelah

    Jesse, density or sprawl? You take your pick unless you think you can build a fence around the city and keep everybody else out.

  2. Michele Marie

    It’s not either/or, density or sprawl.

    Cautious, patient incremental growth works. Slower and lower, please.

  3. travelah

    Michele, with the influx of new residents and demand for new services being experienced here, it has become an either/or situation.

  4. hauntedheadnc

    Why lower, when the developer is basically dusting off a tower proposal that’s almost 80 years old?

    You did realize they were building tall buildings in Asheville back then, didn’t you? Tell me — how exactly does one go downtown and not notice the courthouse, or the Jackson Building, or the Battery Park Hotel? I’d like to know because threading one’s way through downtown without ever seeing those buildings, or any of the other taller buildings there, would probably be a pretty trippy experience, and I’ll try anything once.

  5. Billy P Patton

    “It’s not either/or, density or sprawl. Cautious, patient incremental growth works. Slower and lower, please.” You’re right Michelle. Put it out on LOng Shoals/I26 where the rest of the yankee construction is happening.

    Hauntedhead, the County Courthouse is not 20 stories tall, or even close. You like tall buildings? Go back up north. And I say that for anybody else in favor of these highrises in Asheville.

  6. Princess Leia

    yes Mr. smug Travelah. We build a fence, even better toil booths for even entering our air space, as they are doing in NYC. Density is density and hell is other pollutingly dense people and unless you’re graveling at the idol of capitalism, then you could see that the community should control growth, not a bunch of rich developers with nothing else to do but brag about their new buildings.

  7. Patches

    It seems to me that the best way to make any difference is to get our act together and really get the community involved. 20% is pathetic and a few voices arguing from their respective camps doesn’t do much to help anything.

    Lets start a dialog to figure out how to get out the vote.

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