For many Asheville residents, seeing a bear at their trash can is a bucket-list item, the pinnacle of mountain living. But as exciting as a bear sighting can be, interactions with the furry, four-legged natives can quickly spell problems for bears and humans alike.
A report by construction industry website Construction Coverage found that 52% of Asheville workers — roughly 90,000 people — are employed by a small business. Plus, local business openings and accolades.
On Nov. 10, Asheville City Council authorized the city’s sanitation division to purchase 340 bear-resistant trash carts for customers to rent on a first-come, first-served basis.
The plan, which has been under development since July and was initially expected to be adopted in September, lists four “community focus areas” for Buncombe’s leaders: an educated and capable community, environmental and energy stewardship, resident well-being and a vibrant economy.
Three draft design concepts for the city-owned Haywood-Page properties were presented during a public work session on the issue Feb. 17, and residents can comment on those designs via online survey through Sunday, March 14.
Many public commenters urged the commissioners to act even more decisively on transitioning away from fossil fuels in the context of climate change. Chloe Moore with the Sunrise Movement referenced a scientific paper, published earlier that day, in which over 11,000 scientists from 153 countries declared a “climate emergency” and warned of “untold suffering due to the climate crisis” if stronger measures were not taken.
Buncombe County has identified over $2.9 million in solar energy projects that could be installed at government-owned facilities. The projects are estimated to generate more than $4.7 million in energy savings over their estimated 30-year operational lifespan and help the county reach its goal of powering all government operations with 100% renewable energy by 2030.
“I know many of my neighbors have called to share similar concerns. It doesn’t appear any of us are being heard.”
Nine residents spoke at the Oct. 1 meeting of the Board of Commissioners about the county’s new agreement with residential waste collection contractor Waste Pro, the second consecutive meeting at which the issue was on the agenda. All of the commenters were critical of the contract, which requires customers to use Waste Pro-provided carts for their trash and recycling.
Dane Pedersen, Buncombe County’s solid waste director, said many residents were confused over what would be included in the $19.21 monthly service fee. He explained that the cost covers the required rental of two containers from Waste Pro, one for trash and one for recycling, as well as weekly trash pickup and recycling collection every two weeks.
“Cutting back on this service only encourages people to put more recyclable material into their regular trash.”
Under the new contract, according to a presentation by county Solid Waste Director Dane Pedersen available before the meeting, all customers would receive trash and recycling containers from Waste Pro as part of a $19.21 monthly service fee. Currently, customers pay a $16.08 base fee and can rent containers for an optional $3.80 per month.
After an unexpected delay on April 23, Council members will have the final say on the rezoning of the historic structure at their regular meeting on Tuesday, May 14.
Buncombe County has used about a third of the total 12.5 million cubic yards of space available to receive municipal solid waste, which the department tracks separately from waste produced by construction projects. At its construction and demolition landfill, which sits on the same property but is sorted separately, the county still has about 1.3 million cubic yards of fillable space out of a maximum capacity of about 2.4 million.
The N.C. Department of Transportation and the city of Asheville have announced a plan to conduct a corridor study prior to planning improvements for Merrimon Avenue.
Buncombe County’s contract with Waste Pro, the company that handles trash and recycling collection in unincorporated parts of the county, will end on Dec. 31, leaving the door open for commissioners to select a new contractor.
“I’m an old lady who has lived all over the U.S. and always had trash collection at my house, and never has the service been as bad as I’ve had in Asheville.”
“How did Waste Pro get a 10-year contract? Who, at the Buncombe County administration made that decision and why, in view of constant complaints?”
During their meeting on July 10, commissioners approved an increase in monthly Waste Pro rates and took the first step in their formal search for a new county manager.