Friday, December 16, 2005

Community Voices

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usChris Bauer, a Weaverville resident who occasionally comments at BlogAsheville under the name MountainStyle, had this to say about the town's planned megadevelopment:

MtnX: "Let us stay Weaverville!
With the exception of Al Root, the rest of the Weaverville Town Council has sold out this quaint and peaceful hamlet to benefit the bank accounts of developers and to ensure the growth of unnecessary urban sprawl.

Reportedly, 1,500 jobs will be created by the building of the project the Council just approved. That's great, because with a town population of around 2,600, this shopping center should ensure employment for over 50 percent of Weaverville. And talk about convenience! The nine whole minutes it takes me to drive to work in Asheville every day is just wearing me down.

I can't think that 1,500 low-wage jobs will bring a lot of revenue to the town, especially when money made at the big-box stores will go into a bank pouch and then be whisked away to Arkansas or California or some other place far away from here, and never get spent in our town.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usI'm sure the developers have shown that the effects of wiping out Weaverville's mom-and-pop stores will be minimal, at most, and with a population that small, there is no way a minimal effect will be that bad, right?

Tax base? Let's see – great schools, wonderful Main Street, no crime, no litter. Obviously Weaverville needs more money because life here just isn't quite pleasant enough.

This is a prime example of a pristine little community about to shoot itself in the foot because a developer says it will feel good. It's like calling McDonald's and asking them if they would please come to our town because we can't find a tasteless hamburger. I highly doubt the founders of Weaverville ever thought 36 acres of parking lots just wouldn't be enough in one spot.

[Council] needs to remain true to the citizens: Stay Weaverville. Instead of giving tax incentives and other concessions to developers, support local entrepreneurs and ideas which keep the town unique and flavorful. The town could provide incentives and opportunities for local artisans and citizens to maintain the small-town feel and advance the unique creativity of the residents of Weaverville, instead of lining the pockets of a multimillion-dollar developer from Charlotte. There is an old community building at Lake Louise that is in dire need of sprucing up. Revitalizing it would create a hub for the town to center around.

The future of towns like Weaverville is not set in stone. The people always have a say in everything that happens in their town. I don't think the Council's decision was well considered, though, and I will do everything I can to stop this bland and faceless piece of tasteless stucco from becoming my neighbor. If you think the rezoning is a good idea, you are entitled to your (wrong) opinion, and in the meantime, you can drive six miles to the nearest big box. Or is it five? Just kidding.

And by the way, Mike's Main Street Grill in Weaverville has the best-tasting burgers in the world."

8 comments:

ash said...

Mtnstyle, how long have you lived in Weavervegas?

I grew up there. Lived in a house on Main Street. Graduated N. Buncombe High School. I've watched the town grow and change. And I have no problem (well, one, which you didn't mention, which is the eviction of the trailer park folks) with the proposed development. That interchange is already clogged with a couple of grocery stores, a Mickey D's, and a strip shopping center. So I say, let there be a Lowe's, or whatever they want to put there. It's the perfect place for it.

Whatever small-town "charm" Weaverville's got (and it ain't much) is not threatened by yet another shopping center, situated with others, next to an Interstate.

Screwy Hoolie said...

ash,

Money flowing out of the community

Increased traffic

Unnecessary growth

Another frickin' Lowe's? Really?

ash said...

why do you assume money is flowing out of the community? local workers will be paid, and spending money locally, right?

increased traffic in that area - yes. i think the interstate highway and the giant weaverville boulevard can handle it.

unnecessary growth - i guess you're right. all growth, by your thinking, is unnecessary, right?

i'm just saying that we should deal with reality. the reality is people are moving here in droves. the reality is there are no zoning rules outside the unincorporated areas of buncombe county. the reality is we're going to grow. the reality is people in weaverville need jobs, the town needs revenue to improve infrastructure to better serve all the people moving here in droves.

the best location for a new shopping center is that interchange.

stop whining (i don't mean you, in particular) about a new shopping center placed in the right location and start thinking about the bigger issue of how to properly plan for the growth explosion we're in the midst of.

Uptown Ruler said...

ash,

i hear you, but i also think that planning for growth means looking at a picture which does not contain cheap energy resources. if that shopping center is suppose to service ashevillians, i highly doubt people will make the trip out there, 10 years from now when the price of gasoline is $9 a gallon. if it is service weaverville, a better argument i think, do they really have that big a need for those services? and do any of the products being sold at the shopping center, come from around WNC, or are they all hauled up the mtn.

i know im bringing a different arguement, but the growth explosion, from what i see, is completely planned around cheap energy, and the world is running around.

so what to do?

mountain style said...

Ash, not very long but I moved here from a town which grew from 40,000 to 125,000 in 15 years. The problem with rapid growth and rezoning is that residential areas in a small town like Weaverville never come back. Weaverville is a certain size and zoned in a way to support itself at that size with those zoning restrictions. By rezoning residential to commercial you open up the town borders to create one long commercial corridor.(like North Asheville on Mirrimon). Once you do that, you cut off sections of residential areas from one another thereby losing your town.
As a contractor myself I can say for the work and wages aspect, A project this size will not use much if any local Weaverville work force to build it. The developer will hire companies who travel around the country building malls who stay in a chain motel till the job is done and eat Arbys every day for lunch.Where is the local spending?
Weaverville dose not need better infrastructure now but if this thing gets built not only will it need it but we will be forced to have it just to support the mall!
So far I have not heard any legitimate benifets of this thing at all, just a bunch(I don't mean you, in particular)of people saying "just give in to growth". That's a sad and dangerous thing.
What about Buncombe County finding a place to build it that's not in the town limits and let the County deal with the infrastructure?How about some other alternatives I have not heard any yet, or does Weaverville NEED this thing so bad we should all just role over and succumb to the growth.
I do value your thoughts on this matter Ash seeing how you are a native Weavervillian and look forward to discussing it with you further.

Screwy Hoolie said...

Ash,

You'd make a great spokesman for the Lowe's.

The jobs are crap. This area has the lowest unemployment in the state. Jobs like this we don't need.

Increased traffic through Weaverville's Main Street will not be sustainable without more construction. This construction wouldn't be needed otherwise.

Growth is fine. But to believe that "If the Lowe's wants to come, it's the way the world is. Why try and stop it?" school of thought is ridiculous.

The people of Weaverville ought to decide what happens in Weaverville. The multitude who showed up to voice dissent but were overriden by a hell-bent council are people whose lives will be directly affected by this radical growth.

Growth is going to happen. You're right. So maybe it's time, having seen thousands of examples nationwide of small towns eaten alive by bigbox development, to pay attention and notice that the bigboxers don't help communities.

The money doesn't stay here, Ash. It goes to corporate. The wages are so small compared to the amount of money that will flow into the bigbox and then leave this town forever, that to tout the wages as money that stays here is to willfully ignore the thousandfold amount that will go away.

This kind of development isn't inevitable, but it's interesting that you think it is. That means they've got you convinced it's inevitable. It's still a democracy, and this proposed development can still be derailed.

If, when you're shopping at bigboxes around town, you're gleefully thinking to yourself about how great it is that you're keeping your money in the community and how stupid all those small business owners are for even trying, then keep doing what you're doing. Otherwise, planning communities instead of letting outside corporate interests tell communities how to plan makes more sense for the quality of life of Weaverville's residents.

syntax said...

i dunno... i've already heard several people who live in and around that area saying that they're excited, and they can't wait for that huge l-shaped minimall to open up.

the public gets what the public wants...

mountain style said...

It's larger than the Asheville mall with 36 acres of parking.