Vote pro-community

There is very big money that can be made by developers in downtown Asheville. There is very great damage that can be done to the Asheville community by development that is inappropriately sited, overly big or that has other community problems.

We seem to have to keep fighting these off-the-human-scale projects, including what now appears to be a major project waiting on the sidelines: the 11-story condominium in front of City Hall in City/County Plaza, being pushed by builder Stewart Coleman. This is the project that is the subject of a lawsuit about a segment of possible public parkland being sold by Buncombe County government.

Fortunately, right at this moment, I think there is at least one something we can do to push in the community direction.

From what I can see, the six candidates running for City Council—of which we will each get to vote for three—clearly break into two groups, conveniently of three candidates each. Based on their past actions, votes and sources of financial support, I basically would call these groups the pro-general-community group and the pro-development group.

I think we need to vote for the pro-general-community group of Brownie Newman, Bryan Freeborn and Elaine Lite. I believe they have genuine interest in Asheville as a community and have worked, each in their own way, to strengthen our community infrastructure, environment, transit, energy conservation and citizen access to government.

I think the pro-development group of Jan Davis, Dwight Butner and Bill Russell includes two older candidates who have definitely made positive contributions to the community, but as a group would support development I do not want to see. Jan Davis has voted pro-development. When Dwight Butner talks of making the highest and best use of property, it appears to me he is talking in economic terms and not in smaller-scale, quality-of-life terms. When Bill Russell talks of “balance” in city government but has an overwhelming majority of his financial support come from real estate and development people (including, apparently, $1,000 from Stewart Coleman—who would like to develop [that] 11-story condominium), I think I have a good idea of what kind of “balance” he wants.

Please come out and vote on Nov. 6, or vote now at the [Board] of Elections during Early Voting. Please know that the people we elect now determine what our city of Asheville looks and feels like in 10 years.

— James Sheeler
Asheville

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7 thoughts on “Vote pro-community

  1. John Warren

    Davis, Butner, and Russell are mouth pieces for the CIBO, and wealthy Developers that want to build high end condos on your park land.

    I am voting for Freeborn and Newman. They actually listen to the people and work for everyone’s interests, not just the special interests of community and global destruction.

  2. travelah

    John, what park land is currently being threatened by condo developers?

  3. John Warren

    Pack Square Park next to City Hall. The County sold the property and now the developer needs city council approval. This developer has donated thousands of dollars to Davis, Russell, and Butner in the hopes of having a council that will support building high end condos on what use to be public land. If these three are ok with this what else will they sell off.

  4. travelah

    Hopefully they will secure and sell off a chunk of Lex Ave and build a nice highrise to bounce sunbeams off with the Ellington. Maybe we could get a park somewhere else? :)

  5. travelah,
    So you support the annexation of public land to private developers? Or just reject, out-of-hand, anything that might be supported by someone you deem as “Liberal”, (ie yourself 10 years ago)?
    Please clarify.

  6. travelah

    Chuck,
    I was a socialist and quite radical 30 years ago if that matters in defining my viewpoint. Nonetheless, I am not in favor of public entities reserving excess amounts of land (of course excess is debatable). Private developers are not able to annex public lands unless you are aware of a particular loophole that others are not. I am not sure how you interpreted my tongue in cheek remark concerning Lex Ave but allow me to clarify. I see a need for Asheville to grow up rather than out and for a central business district to thrive rather than languish while providing a protected social gathering spot for a rather eclectic group that doesn’t represent the surrounding community at large. The Ellington is not going to be the only high rise building to go up in downtown Asheville nor should it be if there is demand for office, retail and commercial space. What drives the development of downtown Asheville is not simply the desires of inner Asheville but includes the economic drivers of the entire region, it’s metropolitan area.
    Asheville is the principle business center for a region stretching for over 50 miles in any direction. That includes Hendersonville, Cashiers, Waynesville, Maggie Valley, Sylva and even Boone to some degree. Asheville’s future is not hinged on the eclectic mix of some seriously confused souls in the midst of a drum circle or wiccan chant. It is instead tied to the economic needs of a rather diverse yet moderate community not reflected in the current politics of noise.

    That’s the Asheville you will need to come to grips with.

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