Letter: Killing Asheville by a thousand cuts

I attended the latest Planning and Zoning Fee conferences resulting from issues about proposed rezoning to allow growth of a rental townhouse advanced on Woodland Drive, west of Patton Avenue. It’s my commentary that the commissioners are exercising due diligence in figuring out that tasks introduced earlier than them typically meet the technical necessities for zoning. Nevertheless, it’s much less clear that they’re absolutely contemplating the objectives of Residing Asheville: A Complete Plan for Our Future, a doc adopted by the Metropolis Council to supply steering for the town’s growth.

The issues related to my neighborhood apply to any proposed growth in Asheville. Excessive-density housing is a main aim of the town — “the place applicable” as described in Residing Asheville. Nevertheless, high-density growth is clearly not applicable for each undertaking, if adhering to the spirit and intent of the plan. Indiscriminate growth chips away on the qualities that make Asheville a fascinating place.

Residing Asheville (excerpts quoted) specifies that growth: be “‘transit-supportive’ greater density,” “alongside transit corridors,” a “well-connected” place, “minimizing visitors congestion” and “permit[ing] for transportation selections past the automotive.”

For every new growth, we have to ask:

The place is the closest bus cease, and is it safely accessible by way of streets with sidewalks or bike lanes, or no less than shoulders? The Citizen Instances of Aug. 1 highlighted a examine the place Asheville ranks because the “No. 1 metropolis within the state for pedestrian crashes.” Whether it is vital for each resident of a fancy to make use of a private car for safely attending to and from even close by companies, it will increase visitors congestion, each on the native neighborhood streets and on the arterials. Strolling and biking security on the sometimes slender neighborhood streets, lots of that are additional narrowed by avenue parking, are solely additional jeopardized by extra visitors.

Does it meet the criterion of a “livable constructed surroundings,” aim No. 1 of which is to encourage accountable development by “considerate, holistic decision-making on behalf of residents”? Are there close by parks and services encouraging recreation and neighborhood? Does it present “respect for and enhancement of current neighborhoods”? And most particularly, does it “maximize the potential for a wide range of transportation choices”? If there is just one manner out and in of the property onto an inside neighborhood avenue, as within the case of the Woodland Drive property, there is no such thing as a alternative for including a bus route or enhancing the roads resulting in the already insufficient arterials.

A ballot performed for the Buncombe County 2043 Complete Plan asks: “What’s most wanted for you and your loved ones to succeed and have a wholesome life?” The No. 1 response: “Extra protected and inexpensive methods to journey to locations (biking, strolling, or driving a bus/public transit).”

A 4-acre, wooded lot on Hello Alta Avenue (which empties visitors onto Woodland Drive) is at the moment below contract and more likely to be offered for growth. It might technically be thought of a first-rate candidate for one more high-density housing growth, however it could additional improve native and arterial congestion, being constrained by an absence of other transportation choices.

Air high quality deteriorates, and visitors congestion will increase — the standard of life that Asheville promotes and aspires to degenerates, lowering the worth of residing right here.

Asheville dies by a thousand cuts by way of high-density growth that doesn’t help various types of transportation, with no area for leisure alternatives or neighborly engagement. The town should make selections that preserve or enhance the standard of life and cease performing solely to allow concentrated growth. Implement “good development”!

— Randall Grohman


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