Civic

Alternative Offered to Charlotte St Development

A winter scene of the 100 block on Charlotte Street as it is now.

Asheville Recently Hank Methvin and Delce Dyer developed a thoughtful examination of what sensitive development might look like on the 100 block of Charlotte Street.  Their plan would save the homes and a lot of the trees, currently slated for demolition.  The plan is an alternative to the RCG Plan and is worthy of consideration by all parties.   

Jessie Landl, Executive Director of the Preservation Society of Asheville Buncombe County, said that although their organization does “not endorse a particular plan,” “we think that it is possible to add density along the Charlotte Street corridor without losing so much of what makes it special.”

The proposed development on the 100 block of Charlotte Street has come under fire from many in the neighborhood and community, as well as the Preservation Society of Asheville Buncombe County.  As of March 24, 2021, a development company named RCG presented plans to demolish all 13 historic homes in the 100 block of Charlotte Street and then replace them with 183 residential units and approximately 50,000 square feet of commercial space. those opposed to these plans have placed signs in the Charlotte Street  and Grove Park area that simply say, “This is a terrible idea.”  In issue No 3, Volume 25,  on January 21st, the Tribune newspaper printed an article which can be found online (use QR code) with more details.

This new proposal by Methvin and Dyer is more in keeping with the existing neighborhood. This plan would build onto the rear of the homes along East Charlotte Street, allowing the existing structures to retain their front facades and architectural features while maximizing commercial/residential space as needed. The existing grassy corridor could be retained as green space for the neighborhood.  Parking would be creatively tucked inside multi-use striations or built at the basement level. With their proposal there would be 19,200 square feet of retail, 92 residential units, 0 historic homes demolished, 92,000 square feet of residential, 19 homes per acre and 150 parking spaces. Hopefully this alternative proposal will be seriously considered by the Killians, so that the City of Asheville can maintain its unique character and charm.   

By building onto the rear of the homes along Charlotte Street, the existing structures can retain their front facades and architectural features, while maximizing commercial/ residential space as needed. This would also resolve any accessibility issues posed by the historic structures.”  Rendering  courtesy of Methvin and Dyer.
By building onto the rear of the homes along Charlotte Street, the existing structures can retain their front facades and architectural features, while maximizing commercial/ residential space as needed. This would also resolve any accessibility issues posed by the historic structures.” Rendering courtesy of Methvin and Dyer.

“Thoughts On This Design—

• How a building looks is critical to its acceptance within a community and the “pride of place” it creates among residents.

• Every effort should be made to create a high-quality, community-sensitive appearance.

• Avoid creating a building that looks strange or out of place in its neighborhood. Consider a building image that fits in with the image of good quality historic architecture in the community where the

project is located. A building should reinforce the physical “fabric” of the surrounding neighborhood.

• Relate the size and bulk of the new structure to the prevalent scale in other buildings in the immediate neighborhood.

• Relate the overall height of the new structure to that of adjacent structures and those of the immediate neighborhood. Avoid new construction that varies greatly in height from other buildings in the area. To the extent feasible, relate individual floor-to-floor heights to those of neighboring buildings.

• Consider how the first-floor level relates to the street, consistent with the first floors in neighboring buildings.

• The overall form of a new building should incorporate as much variety as possible and avoid large expanses of flat wall or roof.”  *This quote is taken from the Methvin/Dyer proposal and can be found on the PSABC website.

A Birds Eye View of Central Plaza taken from a suggested alternative plan by Hank Methvin and Delce Dyer for the 100 block of Charlotte Street. Trees could be scattered throughout, along with grass and walkways, and the current buildings incorporated into the plan, not torn down and destroyed.

Asheville Strategic Plans for Future Development

The City of Asheville every three years makes Strategic Plans for future development. City Council stated in 2020 that for a well-Planned and Livable Community the goal is to “Ensure future development is consistent with and achieves the vision recommend in the Living Asheville Comprehensive Plan.”  In-depth studies have been paid for by taxpayers, which hopefully the elected City Council members are taking into consideration before allowing any new development to take place.  There is a comprehensive Charlotte Street Corridor Plan with maps and details that hopefully the current City Planning and Zoning Committee members are re-reading and studying before approving any development plans brought before them.

This plan clearly states that Charlotte Street is the “Front Door” for the Grove Park Inn, one of the largest tourist destinations in Western North Carolina. It is often the first introduction to Asheville for thousands of tourists who visit the Inn each year.   Specific development goals for the future are mentioned in the plan.  1) Improve the safety and efficiency of all modes of transportation within the Charlotte Street Corridor and 2) Encourage pedestrian activity as well as alternative transportation within the Charlotte Street Corridor.   The complete study on the Charlotte Street Corridor can be found at: https://drive.google.com/file/d/14pqd2js9LdTkKOibv4Jf1KWnL0IFlX6J/view.

Informative Website

A website has been set up by the Asheville Coalition for Smart Growth to keep the community informed about the plans surrounding developments at Charlotte and Chestnut Streets with emails and addresses, so one can easily get one’s voice heard by the people who are making these decisions. They encourage all to keep themselves current, informed and write to Mayor Esther Manheimer and the city council members with their opinions and views.  This website can be found at
www.ashevillecoalition.org.

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