Weaverville – As the newest member of the Weaverville Town Council, John Chase might be an enigma to some town residents. So the Tribune set out to help residents get to know Chase.
According to Chase, he is the product of an Air Force dad who flew C-130s. He moved around a lot but mainly lived in North Carolina and graduated high school in Fayetteville. He moved to Asheville in 1990 and graduated from UNC-A. Chase met his wife in Asheville, who has family members from Weaverville, even a grandfather who was a judge. His father-in-law is former Weaverville Councilman Walt Currie.
In 2006, Chase’s family bought their first house in Weaverville. Since then, they’ve lived all over downtown Weaverville, including Church Street, S. Main Street and Brown Street. A structural engineer by profession, Chase and his wife have two teenage daughters.
Asked how he got involved in town government, Chase told the Tribune, “Three or four years ago I was asked, ‘would your serve on the planning board?’ I said well yes,” explained Chase. “It’s been a very insightful experience.” Asked how he was approached to see if he’d be interested in serving on the town council, Chase told the Tribune, “Basically, Al Root…said, ‘would you meet Patrick and I for coffee?’ And I did and they said, ‘have you ever consider being on town council?’ I said, ‘well I have. It seems like the natural progression.’” Al then told Chase he was thinking about stepping down and there may be a vacancy coming open. He said that he attended the council workshop where Root tendered his resignation and then showed up at the council meeting. “I don’t know if they had anybody else considered or what. So then I went to the council meeting and was nominated. I don’t believe there were any other nominations and essentially voted to join…it was quite quick.”
This is Chase’s first venture into politics. He is currently registered as an independent leaning, “…Democratic on a number of social issues. In terms of personal responsibilities and finances, and I would apply that to business or a town, I’m fairly conservative…conservative…is not the right word. I would say that I’m, uh, I manage those things carefully and wisely.” Chase said he did not talk to Councilman Jeff McKenna before McKenna nominated him, “No, I did not.” Asked what he wants people to know about him, Chase said, “I consider myself a longtime resident, father of two children, local business owner.”
Asked if he had anything he’d like to achieve while on the council, Chase said, “What I bring from the planning board and I like, and my family and/or a lot of people like is the small-town charm, the older buildings downtown, the walkability, the quaint restaurants and shops and the lack of say commercial stuff right there in the heart [of town]. And then you know older houses around town, but to really answer your question, its understanding and liking that, but also maybe pushing growth in a way that’s not detrimental.”
Asked if he looked over the updated comprehensive land use plan and thought it was a good plan, Chase said, “I think it’s a good start.” Asked if the town could benefit from an urban planner, as recommended by town resident Thomas Veasey who is running for town council this fall, Chase said, “I could see the benefit of that. I feel a lot of people in the leadership are all wearing that kind of hat in some degree.”