Archive for Parkside

Pic lifted from Jason Sandford

Pic lifted from Jason Sandford

With all these Top Ten lists floating around the internets, I thought I’d toss another reflective log on the fire.  Add your own top stories in the comments, and you get bonus points if you put together a Top Ten Local Political Stories of the Decade.

Buncombe County Commissioners and Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce come out in support of I-26 Alternative 3. After the strong design work from the Asheville Design Center and unanimous support from the City Council, it looked like our community might move the mighty DOT to create something that actually works for Asheville.  When the CoC and 3 of 5 County Commissioners swung in the direction of Alternative 3, further delay was guaranteed.

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For over a year and a half we have watched the terrible tale of Parkside.  Today it appears the condominium side of the story has come to an end.  If the court rules in favor of the Pack family, then the land will revert to the public, and this story will finally be over.  We’ll all have a toast in Mr. Coleman’s Tavern to public lands and local brews.


A letter dated Thursday from an official with S.B. Coleman Construction Co. asks the city to withdraw the company’s application to put a nine-story, mixed-use building on a site just west of City Hall so that plans for a restaurant and bar on part of the property can proceed.

Categories : Local, Parkside
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It appears that, no matter what the judge rules in Mr. Coleman’s appeal of the Parkside ruling, any future condo will have to go through the entire process again.  It appears this story is coming to a close.

Assistant Planning Director Shannon Tuch said Tuesday that the city’s approval of the pub means the approval of the nine-story condo building was dead.

“We can only entertain one development application for a piece of property at a time,” Tuch said. “So he would have to reapply and start all over.”

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Parkside: Pack Tavern

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We’re still waiting for the ruling regarding the sale of public parkland to a private developer, but Stewart Coleman is moving ahead with a new plan to turn the historic Hayes and Hopson building into a tavern featuring dozens of local brews. It’s a bit ironic that the pub will be called Pack Tavern, since George Pack’s gift of the parkland to the “public forever” was the pivotal fact in the Parkside controversy.

It sounds like a great idea to have a pub on the park, and I congratulate Mr. Coleman for making lemonade out of the lemons he grew.


“The Pack Tavern, as the new restaurant will be called, will open later this year and would add another chapter to the building’s colorful history.

The space would be named for George Pack, one of Asheville’s great benefactors, whose 1901 donation of downtown parkland played a role in a controversy more than a century later involving Coleman and his plans to erect a nine-story building next to City Hall.

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Parkside: Appeals Court To Hear Case May 19

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get-off-my-lawnHere’s a great chance for the multiple civic organizations who opposed the Parkside boondoggle to come together one more time.


The state Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear arguments May 19 in a lawsuit over Buncombe County’s 2006 sale of property just west of City Hall to developer Stewart Coleman.

A Superior Court judge ruled last September that the sale, which included the site of a large magnolia tree, was invalid because the county had agreed that the land would be for public use when it accepted a donation of the property in 1901.

Coleman appealed. He wants to combine the property with the site of the Hayes & Hopson Building and build residential condominiums and retail space on the property.

Arguments will be heard at 9:30 a.m. May 19 in the court’s temporary quarters at 227 Fayetteville St., said Joe Ferikes, an Asheville attorney who challenged the sale.

Categories : Local, Parkside
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Parkside: I Remain Agog

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Asheville City Council last night unanimously voted to table Stewart Coleman’s request for a road in Pack Square. The road would service his proposed Parkside building, which has been roundly opposed from every corner of the community and has been shot down by a circuit court. Mr. Coleman’s appeal is expected to be heard this summer. In response to Council’s decision, Mr. Coleman continued with his famous public relations tactics.

If the road can’t be built, Coleman said he would widen Marjorie Street to the south of the property and push the building farther north and in front of iconic City Hall.

“I think it affects the view corridor in … ways we have tried to avoid,” he said.

Stewart Coleman remains willing to build a condominium high rise on our public parkland in front of our City Hall? After all of this?

There are no words.

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Scrutiny Hooligans Year In Review

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Scrutiny Hooligans had a great year in 2008, averaging over 12,000 unique visitors per month and with a roof-blowing 26,000+ in October. The commenter community is consistently witty, thoughtful, and informative. This blog has helped to educate, advocate, and empower Ashevillains of all political stripes while providing a forum unavailable anywhere else.

Before we cross Father Time’s threshold into ought-nine, it seems right and virtuous to have a look back at the posts and themes that helped to make 2008 a banner year for Scrutiny Hooligans.

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{Picture of a fallen Santa, taken a couple of years ago in Raleigh}

Of all the reasons to put the brakes on global warming, the ability to grow and chop down fir trees for the late December Christian festival hadn’t occurred to me. Heath Shuler and the Christmas tree growers have been giving it a lot of thought. The congressman, the growers, and some climatologists will come together today for a press conference to urge Congress to take up significant legislation to slow climate change.

Google Street View captured Asheville.  Very cool.  Very strange.  A little scary.

Regarding Parkside – County Commissioners went into closed session Tuesday to discuss various ways forward on reacquiring the land.  Word on the street is that while Jones and Gantt were strongly in favor of getting it back, Stanley, Peterson, and Bailey wanted to just let Coleman’s lawsuit play out in the court of appeal.  Stanley and Peterson haven’t altered their positions a bit, and they’re not going to.  K. Ray Bailey on the other hand is the swingin’ vote.  This zombie issue isn’t going away.

If you’re into urban development and economics, check out this site – New Geography.  Thanks to Clark Mackey for the heads up.

Barack Obama’s choice of Republican Ray LaHood to head up the Department of Transportation is going to get the disaffected folks all panties-bunched again.  I think Obama is about to bring some incredible changes, and a lot of that’s going to happen at the Transportation level.  Putting a Republican in charge of instituting that change gives Obama lots of political cover.  The same is true of Gates at Defense.  

As to Rick Warren giving the invocation at the inaugural?  Who knows what that’s about.  Warren openly advocated taking civil rights away from Californians with Proposition 8, and he lied to do it.  I think he’s a despicably impious man cloaked in the robes of the evangelical establishment.  Warren’s presence is a nod to the evangelical population in America, but it’s a finger in the eye of everyone else.

Here I was thinking this story would go quietly into the annals of Asheville history.  Stewart Coleman, however, intends to put his behemoth on public parkland in front of Asheville’s City Hall.  From Mountain X:

Asheville developer Stewart Coleman’s proposal to demolish the Hayes & Hopson Building is making its way through the city’s approval process, and Coleman says the 1905 structure could be torn down before the lawsuit that’s tying up his development proposal for the site is resolved.

“We are trying to get our ducks in a row so that when the lawsuit is overturned — and it will be — we can get to work,” he told Xpress. “Demolition of that building is something that could happen before the hearing of that lawsuit.”

It’s like the man has never been told no in his entire life. A dozen civic organizations, two governmental bodies, a district court judge, a major newspaper, and over 7,000 petitioners told him that his Parkside condominium project was not welcome on our public parkland. Coleman doesn’t care. This guy is giving every developer in town a bad name, and I hope that the development community will talk Coleman down off the ledge.

Regardless of how Coleman proceeds, it is time for the newly seated Buncombe County Board of Commissioners to take a stand to halt any possible future construction on our public square.  Either buy it back or invoke condemnation, Commissioners.  It’s time to correct the error that allowed this arrogant man to defy the town he claims to care about.

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Scrutiny Hooligans Voter Guide

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Click here to find your nearest early voting location and hours of operation. It’s one stop voting, so you can register and vote at the same time. If you pull a straight party ticket at the polls, remember you still have to vote for President and the non-partisan races separately. There are two sides to the ballot, so turn the thing over! Voting early is the best way to ensure you don’t have any problems getting your vote counted. Click here to find the early voting location nearest you.

Click here to find the ballot that will be used at your precinct. Different precincts have different ballots due to school board and NC House races being different in different parts of the County.

If you’re interested, here’s the guide I put out for the primary.

It’s time.

You’ve been watching this election for almost two years. Really. That was back when John Edwards was gearing up to declare his candidacy in New Orleans, when Hillary was considered inevitable, when Democrats gained a slim majority in Congress, before the Woodfin Diesel Power Plant boondoggle. Now it’s time to continue the gains made in 2006 in building towards a more progressive Democratic Party and a healthier America. What you’ll find below are my picks for this year’s ballot. You may not agree with me, and you’re more than welcome to post your own version in the comments (or get your own blog).

A handy cut-and-paste list is at the end of the post. Feel free to email folks the link to this post. Too many people go to the polls without a clue about the down-ticket races. Help them out! See you at early voting.

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