WECAN Board Meeting October 4, 2012 at Merritt Park Meeting Room.
Board Members Present were: Jessie Nell Coleman, Joe Fioccola and Luke Perry. Board Members not present were Byron Ballard, Jeff Carnivale, Bret Frk, Tom Gibson, AnnaBeth Hardcastle, Mike Kenton, Yuri Koslen, Joanne Skinner and Suzanne Willis. Also present were: Officer Evan Coward, Scott Dedman, Hanni Muerdter, Patrick Pearson, Officer Tyler Radford, Officer Adam Roach, Robin Sersland, Marsha Stickford and Pattiy Torno.
Luke called the meeting to order at 6:34 p.m. with a round of introductions. Joe offered a correction to the September minutes: Change "was miffed" to "expressed concerns" The August and September minutes were approved as corrected and distributed.
APD CRO UPDATE: Evan reported that Pattiy and others had been rafting on the river lately and discovered the location of some homeless camps and some items taken from Pattiy's. He reported that the campsite south of Craven was dismantled as was an attempt at a floating bar. After a year being open, there were no major problems with the Hillcrest Walkover bridge. A new sidewalk from there to Regents Park was completed and was being extended to New Leicester Highway. Marsha will follow up on the request for a rail at the steps to Roberts St. Pattiy reported that contract for the Ice Storage Building was extended to mid-November. Former Community Resource Officer Jackie Stepp has been promoted to Sergeant and is now assigned to the daytime Downtown beat covering from Hilliard north to I240.
Luke read an email from board member AnnaBeth explaining her absence due to a class and that she has noticed increased traffic at the dead end of Jefferson Dr. and less visibility due to the vegetative overgrowth since last December's clear up. Patrick reported that that a man has been harvesting kudzu to feed his goats. Patrick will give Caleb's contact information to Byron who was volunteered to make contact and invite him to talk to the board about what his goats can do for WECAN. Marsha will check with Animal Control about permits needed for keeping a herd of goats inside the city limits regarding fencing, shelter and water.
Patrick reported people on foot coming up to doors on Rector Street asking for money, selling things and looking for work. It has been random but Hanni reported they were also going to Clingman Lofts. Evan encouraged residents to call these thing in to dispatch.
BIKE SKILLS PARK Luke and Mike and met with Cecil Bothwell and members of SORBA to continue the conversation about a bike skills park and pump track. Issues of Liability, costs and ongoing maintenance remain. It was suggested to approach Parks and Recreation and Cultural Arts Advisory Board and see what was done at Richmond Hill Park. Other sites being considered include the DOT area between the traffic circle and the Asheville Tap, behind Aston Park towards Clingman Forest Greenway and west of the river south of the Riverlink bridge and north of the Captain Bowen Memorial Bridge (formerly Smoky Park Bridges.) Pattiy expressed the consensus feeling that WECAN would be interested in participating in the conversation if it was to continue but our resources are already stretched and we would not be able to lead it.
WECAN MASTER PLAN: Luke referred to the agreement from the last meeting to update and adjust the WECAN Citizens Master Plan to 2025. The steering committee quickly assembled a lot of data which was reported at the EOTR's 'dog and pony show'. He passed around a summary of that presentation and asked for feedback and asked what the next logical steps would be. Scott came to listen and gave some perspective on the original master planning process. It was a partnership of WECAN, MHO and the city who provided CDBG funds. He noted that over a thousand hours of planning went into it and a week long charette but it took a frustrating year for the results to come back from the consultants. The plan addressed zoning and infrastructure and led to 60 units of new housing. The sagging economy has practically stopped multifamily home ownership development; property values have been dropping; gentrification is still an issue; national data shows home values have decreased 10% in the last 10 years; property values in Asheville have not fully recovered and a new round of property revaluation is due in the next year. Unknown is the impact of New Belgium Brewery moving in across the river on property values and traffic on Clingman Avenue. Clingman is a major traffic route and though traffic should not be expected to be reduced, it can be calmed. Merritt Park was one of the first uses of 'conditional use zoning' and that allowed more than the 8 units per acre zoning. We need to review the prior plan process and focus on issues where planning versus no planning will have the most impact for the better. (beautification, land use, transportation, safety, etc.) Luke suggested looking at Roberts St and inactive DOT land and prioritize our needs. It depends on our ability to reach out to the community and bring in people from the neighborhood. Pattiy received some encouragement from current city planners about some possible funding. Luke proposed that the steering committee meet in the next couple of weeks and come back to the board with specific steps and a list of the top ten critical issues then take the list to the neighborhood to inform the process and choose the top three. Marsha noted that the planning department would help if we contacted 90-something percent of residents.
ROBERTS STREET PARKING PLAN Pattiy reported that a planning process began like the one for the Depot Street Parking Plan. She suggested 3-4 meetings over the next 3 months which would be able to be included in the FY 2013-14 budget. The key is that the sidewalk on the west side of Roberts St from the traffic circle to the five points at Lyman/Depot is an 'existing sidewalk' and as such was eligible for needed repairs. She requested a representative from WECAN to attend these meetings.
NEW BELGIUM/EWANA MEETING Luke distributed a flyer announcing the Neighborhood meeting October 10th 5:30-7:00 at Hall Fletcher Elementary School 60 Ridgelawn Rd. to discuss public infrastructure projects coordinated with the future NB facility. The meeting is to share and discuss information on traffic impacts, public process and timelines with the new road projects planned for Craven Street/Hazel Mill/Emma Rd, plus Beachums Curve, and the I240 Interchange at Haywood Rd. All residents and business owners in the neighborhood are encouraged to attend including the neighborhoods of WECAN, Hall Fletcher and Riverview. There will be brief presentations from the city of Asheville and opportunities for Question + Answer. NC DOT has also been invited to attend. For more Information email@example.com 828 242-4238. Luke pointed out that NB had posted a a flyer with consolidated information. Pattiy noted that NB was listening, paying attention and responding.
COMMUNICATION COMMITTEE:BLOCK JESSIES: Some more 'Jessies' are needed and Yuri will follow up. Evan requested the contact information be put into a database he can access.
SFB WALK THROUGH: Luke announced that on October 18 at 6 p.m. city representatives would meet neighbors at Aston Park Tennis Center and then walk through the South French Broad Neighborhood. WECAN residents are invited to attend.
DRAINAGE REPAIR: Luke reported that the drainage problems from the end of Park Avenue north to the traffic circle near Phil Mechanic Building were looking better as the vegetation was taking hold. He was told that seedlings and trees would be planted in December. He relayed ongoing concerns from Luella about mosquito ponds, West Nile Virus and reflectors on the guard rail at the Park Ave dead end. Luke encouraged everyone to walk through and give feedback and he thanked the city departments who have worked on this problem.
ADOPT A HIGHWAY: Joe announced the next cleanup date on Friday October 12 at 9 am. Litter pickers of all stripes are welcome.
GARDEN CLUB: Joe announced the next garden club maintenance work day would be Sunday October 14 at 9 a.m. for weeding and trimming at the sign corner and up Short Hilliard.
CHEWED UP CURB: Joe asked about the damage to the 'new' concrete curb on Park Avenue across from #1. Luke said it was caused by a city track hoe.
NEWSLETTER/ ANNUAL MEETING: Joe reminded that the newsletter should go out in the next month announcing the next Annual meeting. (Suggested to have it concurrent with the December WECAN Board Meeting?)
IDIOT-ARAD: Pattiy reported that it was a community oriented costumed shopping cart race. On Nov 18 from 2-5 beginning at 339 Old Lyman St ending at the Bywater. Five member teams enter with a food pantry donation. (Food pantry needed.) There are no rules. Community service pieces are required. (Such as clearing 'windows' of invasives and brush to the river, spreading mulch, etc. Shenanigans are allowed and encouraged. In the past 25 teams signed up and 54 teams showed up. Pattiy would like to see 1)a WECAN team entered. 2) a WECAN Mischief/mayhem team. 3)WECAN volunteers to direct teams on the day of the race. The winning team will select a charity to receive 25% of the proceeds. Check out RACEOFAWESOME.COM
FAIR HOUSING EVENT: Robin Sersland from the Asheville Buncombe Community Relations Council distributed flyers announcing a Fair Housing Event on Monday October 22 at the Dr Wesley Grant Sr Southside Community Center 285 Livingston St. Representatives of the NC Human Relations Commission and Pisgah Legal Services provide a plenary session on Fair Housing law, unlawful discriminatory housing practices, and rights afforded under the North Carolina and Federal Fair Housing Acts. NCHRC 866 324-7474/ ABCRC 828 252-4713/ PLS 800 489-6144
Luke announced a County Commissioners Candidate Forum at Phil Mechanic Studios on Tuesday October 9 from 5:30-8 p.m. focusing on the importance of the arts.
Meeting adjourned at 8:15 p.m.
Minutes submitted by Joe Fioccola