Overlook Update and Next Steps
We have a couple of important updates and next steps. First, we received word late yesterday that the developer is withdrawing his application for the development. This means that the July 12th Board of Adjustment hearing on the proposed project is cancelled. While this is good news, it’s possible that he will resubmit a new application or might try to develop the land “by right.” “By right” means that the developer would not need the Board of Adjustment’s approval to build, though the terrain might make it financially difficult to do so. We are trying to find out the developer’s intent, but at this point we can’t say that the matter is over.
Second, we had a fantastic town hall last night. As you can see from the picture above, it was standing room only in a room that holds 200 people. WLOS covered it here.
There were many good questions and a lot of information was presented. One important question discussed was whether to hire an attorney. Because of how the Board of Adjustment operates, the strong consensus of the audience was to hire an attorney. Unlike a City Council hearing where generally anyone can speak, the Board of Adjustment process severely limits the testimony it considers to “only such evidence that would be admissible in a court of law.” Hiring an attorney will obviously cost money and, based on information we’ve received, it’s very possible that fees for an attorney and other experts could exceed $25,000 if the matter went to a hearing. We are in the process of setting up an organization that could begin collecting money and we will be asking for your help.
Finally, in terms of next steps, we are trying to get more information on the developer’s intent. In the meantime, we want to use this opportunity to engage the City of Asheville, Buncombe County and the NC Department of Transportation to address the many concerns that we have in South Asheville surrounding development and traffic. It’s clear that we need to organize ourselves in order to make sure that our voices are heard among these various governments. We’ll keep you updated and will ask for your help as well. Thank you for all of your efforts.
South Asheville Resident & Business Community Organization (SARBCO)