MAKE WAY: Asheville City Council approved a widened "multi-use path" along the stretch of Lyman Street between Amboy Road and the former site of 12 Bones Smokehouse. The change from a 10-foot-wide greenway to a 16-foot-wide path was in response to scaled-back plans that eliminated a protected bike lane along the stretch. Former Council member Marc Hunt suggested the revision. Image courtesy of Marc Hunt

Smaller project, bigger budget, approved for RAD

On behalf of Asheville taxpayers, members of City Council swallowed a bitter pill on June 27: The city will pay more and get much less than it expected for the River Arts District Transportation Improvement Project. Soaring construction costs led to a revised project scope, with three greenways and the Livingston Street Complete Streets initiative among the components left on the cutting-room floor. Since December, the city has pledged $12 million more to the project than originally planned.

BIG DECISIONS: Asheville voters will weigh in on three separate bond measures: $32 million for transportation projects, including road repaving, sidewalks, bus shelters, traffic-calming measures and greenways; $25 million for affordable housing, including $15 million to repurpose city-owned land for affordable housing and $10 million for the city’s affordable housing trust fund; and $17 million for parks and recreation projects. Graphic assembled by Scott Southwick

Asheville leaders and organizati­ons weigh in on bond choice

City-sponsored early polling indicated that a solid majority of Asheville voters say they will vote for the proposed $74 million city bond referendum on this year’s general election ballots, and far more local groups and organizations have lined up to support the bond than to criticize it. As with any issue, however, opinion is mixed.

BOOM TOWN: Shown here around 1929, Pack Square at that time was ringed by the 1926 Asheville City Hall, the 1903 and 1928 Buncombe County courthouses, Pack Memorial Library, Legal Building, Central Bank & Trust, Commerce Building, Westall Building and Jackson Building. Photo by George Masa, provided courtesy of the North Carolina Collection, Pack Memorial Public Library

Asheville’s bond fears: The legacy of a financial nightmare

Has Asheville recovered from the trauma of its municipal debt crisis, which spanned the years between 1930 and 1976? The debt had a profound impact on Asheville’s development, its cityscape and, lastingly, its appetite for municipal debt. This year’s $74 million bond referendum will put the city’s confidence to the test when it asks voters to choose whether it’s time for the city to borrow again to finance growth.

URBAN FOREST  Unaware of the controversy over their fate, 23 mature oaks stand on a knoll overlooking Coxe Avenue. Photo by Virginia Daffron

Oaks’ last stand: South Slope urban forest won’t get city funds

If the 23 mature oak trees at 11 Collier Ave. on Asheville’s South Slope are to escape the chainsaw, it will have to be without the city’s help. While City Council followed through on its commitment to explore possible strategies for preserving the urban forest, in the end Council decided that committing resources to the effort in advance of significant private fundraising wasn’t a responsible use of taxpayer assets.

Following a moment of silence in remembrance of former Councilman Marc Hunt's son Taylor, Boy Scout Troop 91 led the Pledge of Allegiance. Photo by Virginia Daffron

City Council to take steps on expanding Homestays, planning for park

In its first full meeting since three newly-elected Council members were seated, City Council moved in new directions on a public space for a city-owned lot on Haywood Street and on including some accessory dwelling units in the city’s homestay ordinance for short-term rentals. Council also considered downtown development review standards and passed a resolution on the I-26 connector project.

The roof of Asheville City Hall.

Packed agenda for Nov. 17 City Council meeting: utility substation­s, Homestay ordinance and more

The Asheville City Council meeting scheduled for Nov. 17 boasts a full agenda featuring two hot topics – utility substations and changes to the city’s Homestay ordinance. Citizens wishing to comment on those issues may want to arrive at the Council chamber on the second floor of City Hall earlier than the 5 p.m. start time, as a full house seems likely.

Candidates at the start of the forum, which featured questions submitted by members of the audience. Photo by Virginia Daffron.

City Council candidate forum du jour: League of Women Voters

Though they share many of the same policy positions and goals for Asheville, each of the six city council candidates still in the race must now highlight for voters the qualities and experiences that make him or her unique. At the latest candidate forum, candidates worked to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

Hunt

Marc Hunt

Marc Hunt Website: huntforcouncil.com Employment: Retired from Open Space Institute Party affiliation: Democrat Previous candidacy: Council member since 2011, vice mayor since 2013 NEW! Notable endorsements: Mayor Esther Manheimer, former Mayor Terry Bellamy, Council member Jan Davis, Council member Gwen Wisler, Council member Gordon Smith, Council member Chris Pelly, state Sen. Terry Van Duyn, Commissioner […]

“What appears to be happening is that we're being told to settle the water lawsuit or else.” — Vice Mayor Esther Manheimer photos by Max Cooper

Carrot and stick: In emails, legislator­s and Council wrangle over water lawsuit, district city elect

Behind-the-scenes negotiations over a lawsuit, a push from Raleigh to force district-based elections for Asheville, and the fate of a parks-and-recreation bill that could save city government millions — all this and more are revealed in emails between Council members, city staff and North Carolina legislators. Recently obtained by Xpress, the documents show a candid […]