In November’s general election, Buncombe County citizens will vote on two bond referendums that could together authorize up to $70 million in county borrowing for open space conservation and affordable housing projects.
This November, Buncombe County voters will determine if the county pursues up to $70 million in bonds. If approved, $30 million would go toward land conservation and greenways, while $40 million would fund up to 3,100 affordable housing units.
The proposed Wild and Scenic River designation would require the U.S. Forest Service to develop a specific watershed management plan for a half-mile corridor along about 7 miles of the Nolichucky River running through the Nolichucky Gorge from Poplar, N.C., to Chestoa, Tenn. The move would also permanently prohibit federal support for dam building and other actions that could change the river’s flow.
In a process not open to the public, Council has selected a committee of “key community leaders” to help review candidates for the most powerful unelected official in city government. City spokesperson Polly McDaniel said the panel will provide “input and perspective on a list of candidates,” adding that members “will serve in an advisory role.”
While other planned greenways have bogged down in the face of rising costs — leaving the timeline for their construction in doubt — a flurry of fundraising, planning and design activity surrounds the planned Woodfin Greenway & Blueway. What does that project have going for it that other greenways don’t?
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.