Who is the AARRC? Affiliations and Connections - Part 1

This article has been updated - see below

Here are the members of the AARRC and City Staff and their affiliations and connections.

Chairwoman - Pattiy Torno
  • Pattiy Torno is the current chairwoman of the AARRC. Her term ends this December but she has been a founding member since 2010. She was also a member of the City of Asheville River District Design Review Committee which reviewed developments along the French Broad (River Arts District area) before it became absorbed by this AARRC commission in Feb 2014.
  • Pattiy is both a property owner and artist in the RAD. She owns the 3 buildings on Riverside Drive (#6, #9, #12 Riverside Drive) known as Curve Studios. The road in front of Curve Studios was going to be widened and would have impacted her building. This is no longer the case. There will be a sidewalk built to her buildings instead.
Joseph Ferikes, City Council appointee and also:
  • Attorney for Town of Woodfin with Jerry Vehaun who is also a member of AARRC
  • Owner and part-time developer in French Broad River Group, LLC, who sold their property to New Belgium for $1.7 million (the property on the French Broad River, not the Enka site). Click here for source
  • Also recently purchased properties in and around New Belgium's property on Craven Street.  Recently purchased 25 George Ave bought April 2014; 5 Georgia Ave bought March 2014; 19 Woodfin Ave (planned Greenway in this area); 2 lots on Waynesville Ave - near Craven St)
  • He attends the New Belgium Leadership Roundtable meetings and reports back to the AARRC
George Morosani, CIBO representative and also:
  • Owner of the property of River Mill Lofts (under the name M Realty, LLC), the recently approved 254 unit, 4 story development with 4,000 sq ft of commercial space to go along the Swannanoa River. This development was reviewed and approved by this AARRC commission first before going through regular P&Z. Several variances were approved that would make most of the area developers quite jealous since the variance requests usually take months to go through and with a lot of hassle but River Mill Lofts was very seamless and easy. This site is also within the 100-year flood plain.  We do note: Mr. Morosani did recuse himself from the November 14, 2015 meeting deliberations on this project but he stayed and heard the discussions; he just did not vote or provide comment. Click here to read those minutes
  • former owner of George's Stor Mor who recently sold that business 
  • Developer with several properties, mostly in South Asheville
Carleton Collins, Vice Chairman of AARRC and also:
  • Carleton is a member of the design team for River Mill Lofts which is owned by George Morosani
  • former member of the River District Design Review Committee (reviews all development projects on the French Broad and Swannanoa)
Cindy Weeks,  City Council Appointee
  • Vice President and Director of Investments for Mountain Housing Opportunities, who has provided funding for some of the projects in the River Arts District 
  • MHO is the same organization that was recently in the paper for their delayed Eagle Market Street project. Click here for article.
Brownie Newman, Ex-Officio Buncombe Co Commission Appointee
  • VP of Business Development for FLS Energy (solar power company located in the River Arts District). All of the New Belgium Leadership Roundtable meetings (where they update stakeholders on progress) are held at the FLS Energy Board Room.
  • Buncombe County Commissioner. Remember Buncombe Co gave 8.5 million to New Belgium in tax incentives although those funds have not yet been released.
  • Also, Steve Ahn, who used to be the Senior Project Manager and Purchasing Manager for FLS Energy, is now the Facilities Manager and Construction Manager for New Belgium's new facility.
Karl N. Koon, CIBO Appointee
  • former Planning & Zoning Commission member of the City of Asheville but was member during which RADLofts and River Mill Lofts were approved by this same AARRC
  • President of Asheville Oil Company
  • member of WNC Regional Air Quality for Buncombe Co
Matt Sprouse - member of subcommittee, Planning & Design Review Committee which reviews all riverfront development projects
  • He is not an official AARRC member but was put on their subcommittee - the Planning & Design Review Committee (formerly, the River District Design Review Committee)
  • He is also the agent for the project, RAD Lofts, a project of Harry Pilos, which recently was awarded approximately $500,000 in land use incentives.  For details about the RAD Lofts project, view the City Council minutes here.  Mr. Pilos is fortunate to have someone on the design committee working on his behalf. Matt worked on the RAD Lofts project, approved it through the Planning & Design Review Committee and recommended it for approval to Planning & Zoning.
  • He is owner of Sitework Studios, an urban design firm located on Depot St in the RAD. His business partner designed Carrier Park on Amboy Road. He is currently President of RADBA (River Arts District Business Association).

City Staff associated with this project:
  • Stephanie Monson Dahl is the urban planner in charge of this project. Her husband, Darren Dahl, a freelance writer for publications like Huffington Post also writes for Forbes. In May he launched a blog on behalf of New Belgium where he "chronicles the growth" of New Belgium. Click here for bio and articles.  
  • Mayor, Esther Manheimer is a lawyer with Van Winkle law firm.  Her area of expertise is in representing property/land owners in land condemnation disputes. She understands our issues well and in fact, refers property owners (like she did with us) in the RAD to her own law firm for representation. Law firms receive a percentage of the compensation paid to their clients (usually 30%). 
More on this in Part 2 of this series

Update June 8, 2015:
Citizen-Times did a follow-up report to this blog post.  Click here for link to the full article
Let's do a little clarifying:

1) Correction: There are not 2 CIBO members on this Commission - there are 4.

2) Out of the 14 members, 7 are property owners and none of them are negatively impacted - all will get benefit

3) Review the list of who has applied for this commission - the same people get on the commission. In fact, a large portion were on the River District Design Review Committee. Several other property and business owners applied but were not selected.

4) All "recommendations" made are not just recommendations. They are followed through by the City.

5) Correction: Morosani "recused" himself but stayed for the meetings concerning the discussion of his property.

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