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Leaders hail 'promising' Haw Creek project revisions ahead of Asheville City Council vote

The site of the future "Meadows at Haw Creek" development in Asheville.
Laura Lee
The site of the future "Meadows at Haw Creek" development in Asheville.

The Asheville City Council plans to vote next month on a housing development in East Asheville’s Haw Creek neighborhood, as the developer, the city and community members say they are making progress toward agreement on the project.

The 27-acre “Meadows at Haw Creek” proposal, located at 767 New Haw Creek Road, has been the topic of debate for months. The city is seeking to balance the need for more housing with the environmental, traffic and quality-of-life concerns in the neighborhood, which sits in a valley and has a rural character. A March Planning and Zoning Commission hearing on the development drew hundreds of attendees, and the Asheville City Council twice postponed consideration of the project amid an outcry from residents.

In an email earlier this month, the Haw Creek Community Association invited members to attend a June 14 drop-in session at the East Asheville Library to review “the recent and most promising 767 New Haw Creek development option.”

Chris Pelly, president of the Haw Creek Community Association and a former Asheville City Council member, told BPR about 75 residents attended the meeting.

The latest proposal by the developer, L.B. Jackson and Company, reduces the number of housing units to 84 from 95. It includes sidewalks and a greenway. The plan also protects 4.3 acres of forest canopy – a main concern of residents.

While the parties remain “far from a final settlement,” Pelly said, “there was broad-based support expressed for the revised proposal.”

The community association plans to meet for a follow-up negotiation session with the developer and Mayor Esther Manheimer and Council members Sage Turner and Antanette Mosley on July 1.

“We remain hopeful a final negotiated proposal will be ready for community review before the matter comes before City Council July 23rd,” Pelly told BPR in an email Monday.

Derek Allen, an attorney who represents L.B. Jackson and Company, said Tuesday that the developer is working with all of the parties to find a solution.

“Generally, the development team continues to believe that this is the perfect example of the missing middle housing that studies and consultants keep telling Asheville it needs,” Allen said in an email. “We have been and are continuing to work with neighbor groups, city staff, and elected officials to try to balance the (sometimes) competing interests to deliver much needed additional housing.”

A spokeswoman for the city confirmed that the vote is scheduled for July 23.

During a City Council briefing on June 6, Manheimer said community members had given feedback to the developer on different options and are “actually helping them facilitate the one that the neighborhood prefers because it preserves the most amount of forest.”

“There’s been some good news on that, some progress on that, so we’re crossing our fingers,” Manheimer said. “More to come. And that’s one of the reasons this is being delayed again, in order for them to try to explore this option and see if it’s viable and then bring us back a revised plan.”

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Felicia Sonmez is a reporter covering growth and development for Blue Ridge Public Radio.
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