Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

hauntedheadnc

Asheville turns left at the light

10 posts in this topic

In just a few days, Asheville will wrap up voting for city council, and it's almost guaranteed that we're going to get ultraliberal Elaine Lite in addition to two liberal incumbents, Brownie Newman and Bryan Freeborn. Poor Jan Davis, a moderate democrat who has been tarred with the DINO (Democrat In Name Only) republican brush, doesn't have a chance in the wake of the Ellington's approval. The only reason Newman will be reelected is because the only other alternatives are republican businessmen and moderates. Asheville is no longer in a moderate mood.

So, what will this mean? Elaine Lite is delusional in her admission that annexation causes urban sprawl. I read that yesterday and thought it was the stupidest thing I'd ever heard. Anyone with any sense knows that urban sprawl is caused by buildings going up in the countryside, not expanding municipal boundaries. In addition, Lite is against growth period. She wants height limits, and this is an issue that other council members have been on the fence about although some have spoken favorably of the idea. Lite's extra push could ensure a low-rise Asheville. Also, Lite has spoken out very strongly against most every recent downtown development except the Zona Lofts. I don't really know why she supported that project when most of her arguments against the Ellington (too tall, out of context, etc) could have been applied just as easily to the Zona Lofts.

On the flip side, even Lite conceded that she would have been more open to the Ellington had it included an affordable component, and she wants to institute inclusive zoning that would require a considerable affordable component to all new residential projects. She also wants to give approval priority to low-income and affordable housing, and wants to set up a land trust for green space and affordable housing.

Bouncing back to the dark side though, Lite is also a proponent of slow growth (ie "no growth"), which is an excellent way to gentrify the city beyond recognition. If you allow only a limited number of housing units to be built in the city in a given year, this ensures that the only people who can afford to get in are the rich people because rich people want to be here and rich people always get what they want no matter what you might have to say about it. Lite wants to take action to mitigate this, but there are always ways around that. If you close the door or even push it halfway closed, all you do is push out anybody not of means. Close the door completely and prices for existing units will skyrocket as Thad and Bootsie search for the perfect weekend home. Close it halfway, and Thad and Bootsie will likely choose new construction, but they'll still be able to outbid Sunflower Moonblossom and her husband Starshine Patchouli.

I'm not really comfortable with Lite on the council. She has some good ideas but her naivete about the nature of suburban sprawl, and her express desire to bar the gates of the city really worry me. The rest of the council is useless and has proven themselves useless time and again, or else they would do something other than putter, and we'd actually be able to think of some of their accomplishments over the past couple of years.

What are your thoughts?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


In just a few days, Asheville will wrap up voting for city council, and it's almost guaranteed that we're going to get ultraliberal Elaine Lite in addition to two liberal incumbents, Brownie Newman and Bryan Freeborn. Poor Jan Davis, a moderate democrat who has been tarred with the DINO (Democrat In Name Only) republican brush, doesn't have a chance in the wake of the Ellington's approval. The only reason Newman will be reelected is because the only other alternatives are republican businessmen and moderates. Asheville is no longer in a moderate mood.

So, what will this mean? Elaine Lite is delusional in her admission that annexation causes urban sprawl. I read that yesterday and thought it was the stupidest thing I'd ever heard. Anyone with any sense knows that urban sprawl is caused by buildings going up in the countryside, not expanding municipal boundaries. In addition, Lite is against growth period. She wants height limits, and this is an issue that other council members have been on the fence about although some have spoken favorably of the idea. Lite's extra push could ensure a low-rise Asheville. Also, Lite has spoken out very strongly against most every recent downtown development except the Zona Lofts. I don't really know why she supported that project when most of her arguments against the Ellington (too tall, out of context, etc) could have been applied just as easily to the Zona Lofts.

On the flip side, even Lite conceded that she would have been more open to the Ellington had it included an affordable component, and she wants to institute inclusive zoning that would require a considerable affordable component to all new residential projects. She also wants to give approval priority to low-income and affordable housing, and wants to set up a land trust for green space and affordable housing.

Bouncing back to the dark side though, Lite is also a proponent of slow growth (ie "no growth"), which is an excellent way to gentrify the city beyond recognition. If you allow only a limited number of housing units to be built in the city in a given year, this ensures that the only people who can afford to get in are the rich people because rich people want to be here and rich people always get what they want no matter what you might have to say about it. Lite wants to take action to mitigate this, but there are always ways around that. If you close the door or even push it halfway closed, all you do is push out anybody not of means. Close the door completely and prices for existing units will skyrocket as Thad and Bootsie search for the perfect weekend home. Close it halfway, and Thad and Bootsie will likely choose new construction, but they'll still be able to outbid Sunflower Moonblossom and her husband Starshine Patchouli.

I'm not really comfortable with Lite on the council. She has some good ideas but her naivete about the nature of suburban sprawl, and her express desire to bar the gates of the city really worry me. The rest of the council is useless and has proven themselves useless time and again, or else they would do something other than putter, and we'd actually be able to think of some of their accomplishments over the past couple of years.

What are your thoughts?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't see how having one far-left, no-growth person on council (Lite) will have a significant effect on the direction the city takes. Much as Mumpower's impact on the current council as the lone conservative was inconsequential, so will hers be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem is though, that the current council members, as well as the two incumbents who will almost certainly be reelected, are a lot closer to Lite's positions on the issues than they are to Mumpower's. I recall Robin Cape and Holly Jones both speaking positively of height limits, which I think is a very bad idea, especially if they're going to legislate affordability into new construction. I mean, if a developer wants to build ten floors of big buck condos, how else is he going to fit in the affordable component other than to add a few floors of smaller, more economical condos or apartments? Try that though, and the NIMBY's will blow a gasket, because God knows the fate of the free world hangs on a building being ten floors (which is still too tall for most around here) rather than fifteen.

I tell you, it's tough and it's lonely being a pro-growth liberal in this town.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The problem is though, that the current council members, as well as the two incumbents who will almost certainly be reelected, are a lot closer to Lite's positions on the issues than they are to Mumpower's. I recall Robin Cape and Holly Jones both speaking positively of height limits, which I think is a very bad idea, especially if they're going to legislate affordability into new construction. I mean, if a developer wants to build ten floors of big buck condos, how else is he going to fit in the affordable component other than to add a few floors of smaller, more economical condos or apartments? Try that though, and the NIMBY's will blow a gasket, because God knows the fate of the free world hangs on a building being ten floors (which is still too tall for most around here) rather than fifteen.

I tell you, it's tough and it's lonely being a pro-growth liberal in this town.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well I offer this food for thought. Ten floors is not a bad thing if you have enough of them. Fact in point DC. No height to sceam about but the sheer number of buildings of some height gives it a great feel. IMO I like Ashevilles height right now. It certainly blows Fayetteville out of the water. For a city and metro of its size the downtown is a stunner.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now, to explain that post above, for the average Asheville NIMBY, the kind of voter who will most assuredly put Elaine Lite into the city council chamber, ten floors is at least five floors too tall, and don't even mention density. Most people who move here from big cities and hellhole suburbs come expecting some kind of weird, Mayberry-esque experience in a town that never bore any resemblance to Mayberry at all. And now that they're here, the idea is to close the gates so that nobody else can get in. Facing the fact of growth and accommodating it in any fashion is a notion that is, in their objective and balanced opinion, of the devil.

What I want to know though, is how on earth we're supposed to get affordable housing without height or density. Lite and her supporters certainly don't want downtown to grow at all, nor do they want it to change in the slightest. It would not surprise me to learn that they carry slingshots in case they should see someone attempting to even pick up litter, as even every used condom, cigarette butt, and wad of used toilet paper must be left precisely where it is lest the nirvana-like aura of downtown be disturbed in any way. Hell, I don't want downtown to lose its flavor, but I'm not as extreme about it as Lite. I want growth. Lots of it, because I'm every bit as pro-growth as I am anti-sprawl, and I see good, dense, tall downtown growth as a way to grow in an economically and environmentally sound manner.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I'll be damned. Asheville didn't turn left after all. It didn't turn right either.

How's about this editorial about the whole thing?

------------------------------------------------------

Before we discuss city council election results, I want to clear something up. I

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Admin's note - removed quote of post above

Very well written. I am a Charleston resident/native. Do most people work two jobs to support themselves in Asheville? What is the avg. price of a home up there? I knew cost of living was high in Asheville but it's hard to believe it is higher than Charleston. Oh and I am thrilled we maintained the current adminstration(mayor) for his ninth term. He has done so much for Charleston's downtown.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Very well written. I am a Charleston resident/native. Do most people work two jobs to support themselves in Asheville? What is the avg. price of a home up there? I knew cost of living was high in Asheville but it's hard to believe it is higher than Charleston...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.