Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Update from Substation Design Work Group

Earlier this month, we reported the formation of a substation design work group. They are tasked with developing a mutually acceptable design for a substation Duke-Energy would like to locate on their newly acquired property along Clingman Ave between Patton and Hilliard Avenues.  The work group created development guidance criteria and produced multiple substation design scenarios. Duke-Energy has now completed feasibility studies of those scenarios and presented their conclusions to the work group stakeholders August 16.

Feasibility studies considered design scenarios using either Gas Insulated Substation (GIS) technology or Air Insulated Substation (AIS) technology. Ultimately, GIS design scenarios were concluded as the best choice. While GIS equipment is more costly, it requires less than half the development property resulting in a multitude of benefits that help accomplish scorecard goals. If you remember, the score card’s primary concern was to judge if the development would allow utilization and activation of the site’s perimeter; keep the transformer equipment out of site and invisible as possible, protect adjacent neighbors from consequential impacts and insure mutual community benefits in accordance with master development plans in place.

Achieving scorecard criteria with the smaller GIS footprint, makes it reasonable to house the equipment in a building walled off from sight and to locate the substation where it will have a lesser impact on adjacent neighbors. Generous landscape buffers beyond the central station are also possible.  It importantly allows gateway appropriate development of the excess property separate from the substation and could allow widening Clingman Ave from Patton to Hilliard Avenues lessening traffic congestion.

The Design work group plans further work focused on detailing GIS concept options such as exact substation placement and aesthetic details.  Future meeting dates are planned as follows and note they include a public information session.

 August 23: Evaluate and rank scenarios using scorecard
September 6: Finalize rankings and reach consensus
TBA week of September 18: Public neighborhood meeting.

For More Information:
Please join us at the upcoming WECAN board meeting September 7th held at Mountain Housing Opportunities on Merritt St. You are also welcome to email questions to Lynn Hall, We will continue to post updates on Nextdoor, Facebook and the WECAN Blog,

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Information Update: Duke-Energy’s Proposed Substation in WECAN

Duke-Energy is working with representatives from WECAN, RADBA, SFB, Montford, the Haywood Street Congregation, several local developers, the Downtown Commission and the City of Asheville to develop a mutually acceptable design for a power substation at the corner of Patton and Clingman. At the first meetings of this working group, guidance criteria addressing site uses, neighborhood protections and aesthetics for the substation were articulated.
The Criteria was created to:
1) Ensure minimum impact on the neighbors adjacent to; and closest to, the site and,
2) Promote creative ways to hide the substation while supporting future growth and development both on and around the site.

A scorecard was created with six categories to compare and judge four development scenarios against the criteria and the neighborhood guiding principals:
  1. Prioritize planning that creates flexibility along the edges of the site so that future growth and development on the site independent of the substation can be activated and supported.
  2. Design and aesthetics to make the substation as invisible as possible.
  3. Technical constraints such as topography, cost and proximity to existing transmission line.
  4. Safety and security to limit health, fire and other potentially dangerous impacts.
  5. Construction impacts.
  6. Noise impacts from regular and temporary activities.
WECAN neighborhood representatives working to make a difference and bring forth the community voice are Recy Barnette, Joe Fioccola, Luke Perry and Pattiy Torno. Several other business and neighborhood constituents support them in opposition to the initially presented traditional open-air substation design. The Rankin Ave substation is an example of this design with the electrical infrastructure, chain link fence and razor wire in full view. Duke-Energy representative, Jason Walls acknowledges the proposed build site is a gateway location that must properly represent Asheville, the communities, RAD, etc. He and his management have publicly committed to consider necessary engineering technology and equipment alternatives to achieve project acceptance from their business and neighborhood stakeholders.
Proposed Upcoming Meetings (scheduling is subject to timely completion of work inputs): August 16: Duke-Energy will present the four proposals to the team.
August 23: Evaluate and rank scenarios using scorecard
September 6: Finalize rankings and reach consensus

TBA week of September 18: Public neighborhood meeting.
For More Information:
For questions, additional details or to receive future updates by email, send your request to Lynn Hall, We will continue to post updates on Nextdoor and the WECAN
August 8, 2017 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

WECAN August 2017 Board Meeting Minutes • Draft

WECAN Board Meeting Minutes August 3, 2017  

Board Members present: Byron Ballard, Jared Fischer, Lyn Hall, Rachel Larson, Floree Lowery and Pattiy Torno. 
Members not present: Danny Aull, Tom Gibson, Rebecca Lance, Mike Kenton, Luke Perry JoAnn Skinner and Suzanne Willis.
At Large Members not present: Rafael Rettig.
Also Present: Jessie Coleman, Joe Fioccola and APD Officer Justin Wilson.

INTROS: Rachel called the meeting to order at 6:37 pm.
MINUTES/ TREASURER”S REPORT: Lynn moved and Byron seconded a motion to approve the draft WECAN minutes from July 6 as distributed with one spelling correction.      The motion passed. There was no treasurer’s report.
APD/CRO Update: Justin happily advised that no crimes were reported in WECAN in July. Some issues have been reported with traffic going the wrong way on Club/Trade St from west Haywood and with parking on West Haywood between Park Ave and Roberts Street. In other neighborhoods S French Broad reported increased prostitution, more homeless camps, shooting at Hillcrest, Pisgahview and Livingston and pickpockets downtown. Several people reported cars not yielding to people in the crosswalks at Clingman and Hilliard.
BLOCK JESSIES: There is an ongoing problem with inconsiderate parking on and off Rector Street. Lynn reported homeless camping continues near Clingman Lofts and at Owens-Bell Park.
No movement on making Clingman Avenue Extension one way. Duke-Energy was inconsiderate when they cut down two crabapple trees and half of the big willow tree at the Crisps on W Haywood Street where they are putting in new transmission lines and never informed or consulted with them. Pattiy was asked by Robert Sipes (Jason Walls boss) to let them know when what they do is not right. She brought up the replacement of trees they cut down on Clingman Avenue that have not been replaced and she met with Victor Ray the next day and with Rot Smith ,Duke’s arborist to identify 11 stumps. They will remove 6 piles of debris and cut down the remaining stumps and treat them. Then in the fall they will replant 11 trees near the stumps to maintain the pattern. They asked what kind of trees WECAN would like there and from a list of trees that grow to 15-20 feet including hawthorn, buckeye, crabapple, crepe myrtle, dogwood, magnolia, holly, Japanese maple, snow ball, etc. the native limestone hawthorn crategus calpodendron was chosen. Pattiy moved and Lynn seconded a motion to recommend a native hawthorn. The motion passed.
DUKE SUBSTATION UPDATE: Rachel reported that Duke officially owns the site now.  It made Jessie cry to actually read about it in the paper. The Duke working group has produced a scorecard to be used on August 16 when the Duke team provides additional information and 4 initial proposals to consider. They include a GIS at Asheland and Hilliard, a GIS on the Meeker lots, a GIS on the entire block including residential lots, and an AIS on the entire block. Then on August 23 the group will rank each one using the agreed scorecard. The WECAN working group will met between those meetings and on September 6 the Duke working group will try to come to consensus. There will be something to report at the next WECAN Board meeting on September 7.  A new question arose about the new transmission lines going in on West Haywood which will enable the removal of some of the smaller distribution line poles which hold street lights. Will the street lights be affected? 
RAD FORM BASED CODE: The draft plan went before City Council but was not passed due to late objections from EWANA about short term rentals next to their neighborhood and some objections to any zoning but particularly ‘River Zoning.’ The form based code specifies form and not use so it goes back to Planning and Zoning for revision then to Council. Pattiy has mixed feelings about it. The main issue is how it affects our neighborhood and she is aware of the unintended consequences of fickle new ideas. A weakness that she observed was that unlike the Haywood Corridor FBC the Historic River District doesn’t really have a defined ‘form’ to extend and preserve. There are also two development issues in the RAD. One is the proposal for a hotel at the Burco Building 97 Roberts St because no lodging is currently permitted in the RAD even though many businesses would support a hotel there. The second is the problems with the changing and unfair new requirements for the ‘Stoneyard’ development. A 6 month delay due to a wrong survey and new UDO requirements for council review affecting the design and for affordable housing percentages in a Conditional Use Permit threaten to scrub the entire project.
It next comes before council on August 22. There is no consensus in WECAN on STR’s.
RADTIP: The official groundbreaking is set for August 23.  Joe attended the grand opening of 14 Riverside Drive on July 21. There were some businesses awards, a band, dancers and refreshments and the entire Bacoate family was feted.
ADOPT A HIGHWAY: Joe will lead at 9 am on Tuesday August 8 beginning at the sign garden on Clingman at Hilliard.
COMMUNITY GARDEN: Byron reported over 25 neighbors broke bread and attended a good feast for of corn, potatoes, chard, tomatoes, etc. on July 18. The gardens are in between seasons now and need to be cleaned up to winter over and some cold weather planting will occur soon.
TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION:  Joe read excerpts from the very first WECAN NEWS from August 1997. Highlights included “MHO recently purchased 15 and 21 Rector Street and 134 Clingman Avenue for renovation.” And “Aston Park Update: Though problems at Aston Park are far from being resolved, new landscaping, lighting, and increased police presence have made Aston Park more inviting. A feasibility study addressing Aston’s problem, and new playground equipment expected to be installed by May, 1998, should make the park a safer place for families to play and picnic.”
Byron moved and Rachel seconded a motion to adjourn. Motion passed at 8:21 pm
Minutes submitted by Joe Fioccola, Secretary Emeritus

Important Upcoming Dates:
Aug 7                               Last day to comment on Open City Hall on RADTIP Southern Section Survey
Aug 8                              Adopt a Highway  Litter pickup 9 am
Aug 8                             Affordable Housing Bond Money Grant Center 6-7 pm
Aug 14                              C.A.N. Meeting 7 p.m. Oakley Community Center                
Aug 16, 23            Duke Working Group Meetings           
Aug 17                              Community Land Trust Meeting 6 pm
Aug 18                   NH leaders Roundtable 8:30 @ Riverlink
Aug 23                              RADTIP Groundbreaking
Aug 26                              Riverlink Anything that Floats
Sept 76                  Next WECAN Board Meeting Thursday 6:30 pm