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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Supporters of a public park on the site of a city-owned lot across the street from the Basilica of St. Lawrence and the U.S. Cellular Center are gearing up to present 4,389 signed petitions in favor of a park at the Dec. 8 meeting of City Council.
State-level PACs don’t typically get heavily involved in campaigning for municipal candidates. But, as in so many things, Asheville broke the mold.
Asheville City Council passed revisions to the city’s Homestay ordinance for short-term lodging and approved an extension of the management contract for the Asheville bus system at its Nov. 17 meeting. Outgoing Councilmen Jan Davis, Marc Hunt and Chris Pelly were honored for their service.
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.
“I’m proud to cast my vote for Marc Hunt, Julie Mayfield and Rich Lee.”
“If you support greenways and parks in Asheville, please vote for Marc.”
“I have seen Lindsey, Marc and Julie tirelessly advocate for the people of Asheville with passion, grace and skill. “
“For the City Council race in Asheville, we are endorsing Marc Hunt (at large), Julie Mayfield (at large) and Lindsey Simerly (at large).”
“I believe all three will accomplish tremendous things for our city and region.”
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.
The Asheville Downtown Association tried something different at the Wednesday, Oct. 14 Asheville City Council candidate forum. Rather than bringing the candidates up on stage, the forum blended candidates into the audience to interact with and answer questions directly from the voters.
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 […]
“I want Marc in government because he is one of the most effective people I’ve ever been around. “
“Big spending for another full-scale park on the Haywood Street site would drain the city budget far more than the balanced use of the site favored by Marc and the majority of Council and would mean less money available for other priorities, such as sidewalks, greenways and non-downtown neighborhood improvements.”
“This is not the only issue in the election, but it is an indicator of whether candidates will be responsive to residents or to the developers.”
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 […]