Monday, February 18, 2013

Open Speakup. Designing a public space in RAD.

This Wednesday, February 20, from 4-6 pm at the Artery.

WECAN February 2013 Board Meeting Minutes • Draft

WECAN Board Meeting February 7, 2013 at 64 Clingman Ave.
Board Members Present were:  Byron Ballard, Joe Fioccola, AnnaBeth Hardcastle, Rachel Larson and Luke Perry.
Board Members not present were Jeff Carnivale, Jessie Nell Coleman, Tom Gibson, Mike Kenton Yuri Koslen, JoAnn Skinner, Pattiy Torno and Suzanne Willis.
Also present were: Dr Jim Biddle, CRO Evan Coward, Lt. Jamee Crawford,  Brett Frk, Stephanie Greiner, Grey Hayes Hanni Muerdter, Jeff Palmer, CRO Tyler Radford, CRO Brandon Shope, Marsha Stickford,  and Addy Wygmans,
    Luke officially called the meeting to order at 6:34 p.m. with a round of introductions
THE JANUARYMINUTES were approved as distributed.
TREASURERS REPORT: Treasurer AnnaBeth reported a balance of $359.26 in the WECAN account. (not including the Sven collection)

NEIGHBOR NEWS Sven and Melissa were thankful for the WECAN support recovering from the fire at 11 Park Avenue.
WECAN Founding Board member Jessie Nell Coleman suffered a number of strokes in the last month but is recovering and can walk with a cane and is staying home with the help of her family and therapists. She and her family welcome visitors, cards, and diabetic friendly food at the home 10 ½ Knoxville Place off Hilliard. Evenings are best. Current Board member JoAnn Skinner’s husband was ill but has been released from the hospital. And AnnaBeth announced that 2 future WECAN residents would be born in March on Jefferson Dr.  Stephanie asked about the vacant lot next to The Asheville Public that had the ‘Paris of the South Flea Market.’ It is not known who will be responsible for it when All Souls Pizza opens soon. She said it would be an opportunity for the neighborhood to make it better or help out.

APD CRO UPDATE:  Since the Ice House was secured there has been increased activity at 159 Riverside Dr. The old Cotton Mill Ruins. Tyler reported that Pattiy called in a smell of smoke and the Fire department responded and put out a fire set inside the building and notified APD who contacted Riverlink--which owns the properties, and they responded quickly to board them up and post ‘No Trespassing’ signs. He also notified the city Homeless Initiative for some outreach. Riverlink has plans to fully fence in the properties soon. Evan noted that thanks go to the WECAN community as a model for communicating problems and helping facilitate the city’s multi-department response in comprehensively addressing them. Notifying him was a big help in taking care of a rumor growing about a sniper at the old Stockyard demo site. They quickly investigated and found the rumor was unfounded. Evan also noted that he was in touch with Deconstruction/Reconstruction manager Kent Calvert with Adolphson/Peterson who would keep everyone informed about progress, noise levels, traffic interruptions etc. Marsha encouraged everyone to go to the city website ( on Page 1 to Citizens Alert Services to Citizens Alert Sign-up to register your email and the way you prefer to receive alerts affecting your neighborhood.(i.e. cellphone, land line etc.).  The Ice House demolition set to begin yesterday was delayed by a ‘stop order’ from Norfolk Southern Railway because of issues that might impact their tracks. Demolition should resume in 3-4 weeks. Since mid-January the police have checked the Ice House 149 times and the Cotton Mill about 55 times. Evan advised there would soon be marked and unmarked operations about nuisance crimes: prostitution, drugs, alcohol intoxication in the South French Broad and WECAN areas. He also noted that every 6 months the Traffic Unit analyzed hot spots for traffic accidents and the area on Hilliard Ave and Patton Ave from Clingman Ave to Coxe was targeted for enforcement and accident reduction.

100 PARK AVENUE FUTURE DEVELOPMENT: Dr Jim Biddle who owns Asheville Integrative Medicine presented his site plan for developing 100 Park Avenue property. The property would be divided into 16 parcels. Seven would become affordable lots facing east at the end of Jefferson Dr. His home would be built on three lots at the south end and a clinic was planned for the first two lots off Park Avenue past Asheville Transit. The clinic would be a 3000 sq ft. one story building open Mon-Thu 8:30-5:30 and would average 30 clients a day and some deliveries. The remaining four lots would be reserved for 4 larger single family residences. The plan requires a zoning variance to allow a commercial business to operate in a residential area. (He is also considering building on the NE corner of Hilliard and Clingman Ave.)  Dr. Biddle has spoken with the three immediate neighbors affected: Howard Hanger, The Heetderks and Pete Basset and they have expressed no objections.  The previous plan would have doubled the size of WECAN but this one is more in scale with the existing neighborhood. Joe observed it appeared to be respectful of the current residents and neighborhood-friendly. Bret thought a future issue might be increased traffic on Park Ave and the potential solution of making it a one way street.

CLINGMAN AVENUE TRAFFIC AND PEDESTRIAN SAFETY: Jeff presented his problem backing out of his driveway at 120 Clingman Avenue. It is directly across from the bus shelter at Owens Bell Park in a blind curve. He has researched several solutions each with its own set of problems such as a convex mirror (Progress Energy owned poles); a ‘Hidden Driveway’ sign, reduced speed limit and rumble strips. DOT permission is required on this state road. The road is too steeply pitched for things like speed humps but some ‘visual friction’ may be possible in the form of painting to make the road appear narrower. Pedestrian safety at the crosswalks is also an issue. Hanni read some feedback from some residents of the Clingman Lofts. Almost a third of the 21 units responded. 5 favored traffic calming; 4 preferred the speed limit reduced and 2 wanted speed humps.   For DOT to define a problem their study must show 85% of traffic must be 7-10 miles over the speed limit. Marsha referred to some contacts with the DOT left over from the Clingman Streetscape and may be able to engage them on some possibilities. Marsha will meet with Jeff about options and alternatives and see about a traffic study that will at least identify peak periods. She said that traffic signals are not an option between Hilliard and Beechum’s Curve. Evan noted that the Traffic unit would be using plain clothes units to enforce pedestrian crosswalks.

MASTER PLANNING: The ad-hoc committee has been meeting monthly to review the Citizens Master Plan from 2000 looking at what is in the plan and what needs a second look.  The next steps are to collect existing conditions data to determine what has changed and then get public input on what needs updating. Joe and Rachel reported on a meeting last Wednesday with NEMAC, who is working on the East of the Riverway project in regards to Data collection/analysis. There is a lot of data available thru the Census even though it is 3-4 years old but there is a problem with the East side of Clingman Ave being lumped in with the block group from Hilliard to South French Broad to Bartlett St.  This combines data from Aston Towers, the Aston Garden Apartments, Bartlett Arms Apartments and the Overlook Apartments—all of which are not in WECAN. The data we are looking for there may need to be collected manually by going door to door in person. Additionally, there is still a lot of data to be culled from two East of the Riverway surveys. Rachel warned against survey fatigue and the need to focus on the information we really need. Concurrently, we should use the next survey to connect personally and invite residents to participate in WECAN. Next the group will look at resources and prioritizing issues and looking at the scope of the work. Brett said it was a good first step but it will be a lot of work to update the plan. We may need a bigger resource to continue such as a consulting group which may include some WECAN residents to actually rewrite the plan as well as design professionals to help visualize ideas. Marsha will set up a meeting with Judy and Steph Monson about planning resources available to an area identified as important to partner with. The choice ahead of us may be between doing a comprehensive update or just an addendum to the current plan. The Master Plan Committee’s next meeting will be at Hanni’s at Clingman Lofts at125 Clingman Ave on February 21 at 7 p.m. Luke will report on local non-profits and grant research.

SUMMER DESIGN-BUILD PROJECT: Proposals for sustainable building ideas for about a dozen students to design and build in 8-10 weeks were solicited from residents. Rachel made a chart comparing 5 ideas received: Community Space; Jean Webb Park Stream Bridge; Trails on NCDOT; Clingman Trail; Historic Information Stations; Pattiy submitted a four page illustrated proposal for the Stream bridge. The Asheville Design Center will choose one project from all proposals received from all neighborhoods.  We are looking for input to support the strongest idea.  Luke said it was important for neighbors to be involved in the design, implementation and maintenance choices.

It was noted that the installation of equipment at Aston Park has made a big difference in the uses of the park and ideas such as a canoe launch or dock or picnic tables will broaden the scope of the impact on the use of the Jean Webb Park. Luke noted that a comprehensive planning process was due this spring to cover the Riverside area. He suggested that we move forward with Pattiys proposal to activate the park and stream bridge trail idea. When the idea of sculptures in the park was mentioned Bret recalled an artist who created ‘temporary’ structures made of ‘green’ materials that only last a few years that are natural and sustainable.

CLUBHOUSE: Luke reported that the Benjamin Boling House (1891) aka the Clubhouse was now gone. It came down in a few minutes and was hauled away. He suggested a group be formed to identify other vacant structures in jeopardy of a similar fate.

Sat Feb 9 at 2 p.m                               Owens Bell Kiosk Installation-will happen on this. All appropriate permits in hand.
Saturdays in Feb 9-11 am                   Hillcrest Community Breakfast for Black History Month
Wed Feb 13 7:30-10 p.m.                   Asheville Area Arts Council Annual Membership and Friend Raiser Party at the Artery 346 Depot St. 
Wed Feb 20 4-6 p.m                           RAD Parklet (Parking space sized parks) Design Session at the Artery 346 Depot St. 
Tues Feb 26 4 p.m.                              RADBA  at FLS Energy Board Room  130 Roberts St
Thu Mar 7   TBD                                New Belgium Open House(Before WECAN Meeting)
Thu Mar 7 6:30 p.m.                           WECAN Board Meeting

Agenda items not covered:
[_] Clingman/Hilliard Ped head [_] Roberts St Traffic Calming [_] Roundabout Erosion [_] Pedestrian bridge fencing and railing [_] Greenworks pedestrian bridge landscaping/maintenance [_] Historic Assets-How to protect+ activate? [_] Update-New Belgium Truck Routing [_] Future Endeavors: [_] Fundraising ideas? [_} Goats? [_] Social Gatherings? [_] South French Broad joint cookout in Aston Park? [_] Neighborhood cleanup-march? [_]Garden Club set a date [_] Adopt A Highway set a date.

The meeting adjourned at 8:20 p.m.
DRAFT Minutes submitted by Joe Fioccola.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

WECAN February News Flash

Greetings Neighbors, here is an update on things going on in the West End / Clingman Avenue Neighborhood.

WECAN February Meeting:  Thursday, February 7th, 6:30 pm (64 Clingman Ave- MHO/ Merrit Park conference room).  Please join us this month as we will be discussing:
Speed/Safety issues on Clingman Ave.
How to protect historical assets
Updating our Master Plan
Updates on Ice House demolition and New Belgium Brewery

WECAN Master Plan.  The neighborhood is slowly working on updating its 2000 Master Plan to more clearly understand the current make-up of the neighborhood and provide a clear vision and more accurate framework for the future of our community.  This includes ensuring that future development and housing remains affordable, increasing pedestrian safety and connectivity, activating our natural space, and strengthening our outreach and communication amongst ourselves and surrounding neighborhoods.  We are currently assessing the current social and physical infrastructure of our neighborhood, and soon will be expanding outreach efforts.  In addition, we are looking for sources of funding that can help pay some of our residents to lead this process.  If you would like to help or have ideas, please contact Luke W Perry (

Neighborhood Connections.  In early January, the South French Broad neighborhood held a meeting in conjunction with the Asheville Housing Authority and the Asheville Police Department.  WECAN members also attended in an effort to build broader community patnerships and collaborations.  Stay tuned for a joint spring cookout in Aston Park.  Additionally, WECAN has been working closely with the newly formed East West Asheville Neighborhood Assocation (EWANA) in regards to New Belgium truck traffic.  We look forward to future collaborations and support as our neighborhoods grow and change.

Club House.  Last Wednesday, the Club House, a significant historic community structure was demolished to make way for a new house.  Built in 1884, the boarded up house on Club Street had once served as a social gathering place for Cotton Mill workers, and later as a community bathouse.  Over the years, it had fallen into neglect, and the current and future owners could not make it a priority to salvage the structure or the materials.  With the demolition of the Ice House sheduled to begin any day, this is a reminder that we have a lot of work to do in order to protect the many historic structures that still remai in our neighborhood.  Have ideas or know of buildings/structures that need some attention?  Join the conversation this Thursday or reply to this email.

Ice House Demolition.  On January 8, City Council approved the demolition of the Ice House on Riverside Dr.  The City has reported that demolition was scheduled to begin last week, although any tangible work has yet to begin.  The intention and goal is to keep the brick chimney intact. 
New Belgium Update:  On January 22, City Council approved the New Belgium Brewery conditional site permit.  In addition, City Council also allocated funding to install bike lanes and sidewalks on Haywood Road (from the river to Beacham's curve) to mitigate truck traffic in addition to studying and exploring the feasibility of routing truck on Riverside North.  This includes widening the turning radius at Craven and Riverside as well increasing the clearance underneath the Norfolk Southern railroad bridge.  WECAN's statement on this project and impacts can be found here.

Neighborhood Design Build Project. From the Asheville Design Center:  This summer, ADC will be hosting a ten week program comprised of collegiate level students in the fields of design, planning, and construction to design and build a small community-based project.  We are looking for project ideas and would like to know if your community would like to be the host for the summer studio.  We are looking for a community or neighborhood that:
has already identified a small scale public space project that could be designed and built within ten weeks (bus shelter, community garden pavilion, sports shelter, ampitheatre, etc.).  This project ideally integrates a physical structure/space with the surrounding landscape.
has community members that would be able to work closely with the students in both the design and building stages of the project would be able to help contribute a small percentage to the cost of buildings materials ($500-$1000) would be able to help maintain the project after it is completed
If you have any ideas for a project like this in WECAN, contact Rachel Larson  ( by February 7th.

Upcoming Events:
  • Thursday, February 7th, 6:30 pm. WECAN February Meeting (64 Clingman Ave- MHO/ Merrit Park conference room)
  • Wednesday, February 13th. 7:30-10 pm.  Asheville Area Arts Council Annual Membership and Friend-Raiser party (The Artery, 346 Depot Street)
  • Saturday, February 16th.  Sven Hoosen benefit concert @ the Grey Eagle.  Details forthcoming.
  • Thursday, March 7th.  New Belgium Open House.  Details forthcoming.
  • Thursday, March 7th.  6:30 pm. WECAN March Meeting (64 Clingman Ave- MHO-Merritt Park conference room)
Stay Updated: or join us on facebook at West End/ Clingman Avenue Neighborhood (WECAN)