Due to construction cost increases that made rentals infeasible, the Kassinger Development Group proposed a for-sale condo plan. Of 64 total units, 33 would be affordable, with the city providing support through a $1.28 million Housing Trust Fund loan and a $375,000 discount on the land itself.
Todd Okolichany, Asheville’s director of planning & urban design, said the city’s Unified Development Ordinance was in need of an extensive and holistic review. While the city has made “Band-Aid edits,” he explained, the last major revision of Asheville’s main development code took place in 1997.
After Mayor Esther Manheimer and Council members Keith Young and Brian Haynes shared their intent to reject the project, attorney Wyatt Stevens pulled the building from consideration on behalf of his clients, local hoteliers Pratik Bhakta and Monark Patel.
Offered in response to public demand for greater transparency in the city’s finances, the work sessions allow each governmental department to explain how it uses its portion of more than $180 million in spending. The sessions also provide a forum for Council members to seek information on specific budget items, such as Pack Square Park maintenance.
The effort was sparked by the French Broad River Metropolitan Planning Organization, of which Asheville is a dues-paying member. Last fall, the MPO offered the city $157,500 (to be matched with $25,593 in local funds) for a corridor study of its choosing, with the goal of reducing automobile congestion and creating “an alternative to the auto-oriented cycle.”
At the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce’s 13th annual Elected Officials Reception on Aug. 16, local politicians acknowledged that the intensity of recent city and county government scandals have sometimes pushed other issues to the side.
On Aug. 13, the Planning & Economic Development Committee recommended that staff throw out the kitchen sink from the current definition. Council members Gwen Wisler, Vijay Kapoor and Julie Mayfield moved to adopt a new “maximum flexibility” definition for kitchen spaces.
No additional changes made their way into this year’s budget as Council decided to adopt the ordinance in a 4-3 vote. Mayor Esther Manheimer, Vice-Mayor Gwen Wisler, and Council members Vijay Kapoor and Julie Mayfield all voted in support of the budget. Members Brian Haynes, Sheneika Smith and Keith Young voted against the plan; all three had shown hesitation about a police funding increase during previous work sessions.
Established based on recommendations from a special Council-appointed Blue Ribbon Committee, the new group will be charged with improving human relations and equity throughout Asheville’s government — including the Asheville Police Department, which has drawn fierce criticism in recent months from Council and the public over its response to the beating of a black Asheville resident by a white former APD officer last year.
The Asheville City Council will make one of its most consequential decisions when it hires its next city manager, a powerful administrator with broad authority for most aspects of city government. To inform its search, the Council is gathering input from residents.
In the letter, Kapoor writes that he will ask Council to “reconsider” its actions at the upcoming meeting on Tuesday, June 19. Speaking with Xpress, he clarified that he’ll be calling for the motions to be rescinded and their substance explored through the normal committee process.
By the end of a six-hour session, Council had approved multiple items showing an unprecedented level of urgency for policing reform. Multiple split votes, however, showed the concern of some members over the process of making those changes.
With the potential of tax revenues from the proposed acquisition of Mission Health by a for-profit company looming on the horizon, members of City Council’s Finance Committee heard several proposals on March 29 that would help balance the city’s FY 2018-19 budget.
With two newly elected members and an evolving political landscape, Asheville City Council’s annual retreat at The Collider Feb. 15-16 reflected a shifting mindset about what issues the city should tackle in the coming years.
Asheville voters turned out in relatively high numbers on Tuesday, Nov. 7 to reelect two incumbents and significantly increase the diversity of City Council.
“I will be voting for Gwen and Kim so that we can put their experience, commitment and new ideas together on Asheville City Council.”
“While there are four women vying for seats on Asheville City Council, Gwen Wisler will not be getting my vote. I base this decision largely on Gwen’s lack of advocacy to fund for Youth Transformed for Life …”
Candidates for Asheville City Council and mayor got up early for one last candidate forum before Nov. 7’s general election. Presented by the Council of Independent Business Owners, the Nov. 3 forum focused on business and economic issues.
Asheville City Council and mayoral candidates fielded questions about everything from childhood hunger to city-county food policy partnerships at a recent food-focused forum at Lenoir-Rhyne University.
“Gwen is working every day to improve Asheville for our children through her efforts to protect our natural environment, improve our built environment, make our city more equitable and improve our public schools.”
The Buncombe County Young Democrats and the Asheville Sustainable Restaurant Workforce hosted a forum for Asheville City Council candidates this week that probed issues affecting the city’s population of restaurant and hospitality workers.