AARRC MEMBERSHIP CHANGES
The AARRC (Asheville's City commission that runs the RADTIP project, controls all development projects along the French Broad (RAD) and Swannanoa River, etc.) is getting new membership:
NO MORE ARTIST REPRESENTATION
AARRC Membership Terms Ending
Pattiy Torno, member since its inception, current chairwoman, River Arts District property owner and artist) is leaving as of the end of the year. Who will fill her spot?
Not another artist apparently … which means there will BE NO ARTIST REPRESENTATION on this commission that controls the River ARTS District. Guess what they are seeking? A design professional. But, hmmm, a design professional already is on this Committee so they want two? Guess so. What? Yep, Carleton Collins (current Vice Chairman and member of the subcommittee, The River Arts District Design Review Committee which was absorbed by the AARRC) is taking Pattiy's place. Rather than seeking an artist, they feel they need another design professional (architect or some sort). Stephanie Brown (Explore Asheville) takes vice chairman position.
Jerry Vehaun's (Woodfin Mayor) term also ends. Town Manager, Jason Young, has been appointed to fill his seat.
Ricky Silver's term is also ending but that position is appointed by The Buncombe County Commission and it has not yet been determined who that will be.
Essentially, this commission is now made up of a) developers b) developer/design professionals c)local municipalities d) tourism professionals. No artists and certainly no one with their property being adversely impacted.
FORM BASED CODE
Long time resident and property owner and self-proclaimed "head of the River Rats," Jerry Sternberg raised a ruckus over the planned form based code (see this previous post with his speech), which the City hopes to implement in spring 2016 in the River Arts District. He proposed a resolution to the AARRC:
"Our purpose here is to respectfully request that the portion of this zoning plan west of the Norfolk and southern rail road tracks that rezones the river district be removed from the proposal."
That is basically all the properties along the French Broad in the River Arts District. This resolution has been presented to the AARRC but a FINAL decision has NOT been made. It was tabled in November and December. They are still hashing it out...
The River Arts District Transportation Improvement Project - the main project that will completely and indelibly change the look, physical structure and character of the River Arts District is still on track - it includes changing the roadway, widening the roads and adding greenways and protected bike paths - all of these are set to go through private property along the French Broad in the River Arts District.
Appraisers & Lawyers
Property Owners on Notice
Tenants = In recent weeks property owners have been receiving calls and letters from Paul West of Gulf Coast, LLC - to conduct appraisals - we think these are real estate relocation appraisals for tenants.
Property Owners = In addition, some local real estate appraisers have also been contacting property owners about beginning condemnation appraisals. Property owners are busy obtaining legal counsel and beginning the battle of negotiation.
This means the City is about to begin the largest taking of private property for a road project whose funds and main changes are being done for the benefit of New Belgium, which wants and needs enough room for 18 wheelers to travel down alongside the French Broad to get access to its pristine riverfront location.