As greenways grow in popularity, the city of Asheville is looking into natural surface trails as a possible way to develop a greenway system that benefits people, the planet and the city’s pocketbook. But are greenways of dirt and gravel actually more green?
Citizen activists, members of Asheville’s Tree Commission and city officials are exploring the possibility of increased oversight on how trees are managed within the city limits. But with a lack of definition in key parts of the city’s policy, and obstacles at the state level impeding regulations on private property, updating Asheville’s tree ordinances is proving to be an uphill battle.
Asheville City Council weighed concerns about private property rights, environmental impact, equitable access to public lands and “selfies with bears” before authorizing the Parks & Recreation Department to move forward on soliciting bids for the construction of the Beaucatcher Greenway.
A proposed Asheville resolution affirming the constitutional rights and equitable treatment of all in public accommodations — such as bathrooms — appears likely to spark extensive discussion on how Asheville will respond to House Bill 2 at Council’s meeting on April 12. Other agenda items include subdivision ordinances, the Beaucatcher Greenway and the city’s legislative agenda for the upcoming short session in Raleigh.
“The park and greenway need immediate attention to address erosion, stormwater drainage issues and damaged trees. “
“Choosing to cut down mature trees and convert land into impermeable surfaces is an abuse of that trust —especially when obvious alternatives exist.”
From tiny homes to multifamily development — if a zoning tool can address Asheville’s housing shortage by promoting more infill development in residential areas, Asheville’s City Council is all for it. City planning staff got the go-ahead to draft new zoning amendments to encourage and remove barriers to infill development.
Government agencies and departments from Buncombe County and the City of Asheville are pursuing a slew of initiatives that will reduce the barriers to active modes of transportation like walking, biking and using public transit. In addition to their environmental benefits, these coordinated efforts also promote mobility, health and well-being.
For nearly 100 years, the dream of a high-elevation park offering close-range panoramic views over downtown has entranced yet eluded Asheville visionaries. With a new funding commitment from the Tourism Development Authority, can the planned greenway and park projects finally move forward?