March 6, 2013

Posted in Meeting Minutes

West Asheville Business Association (WABA) General Meeting
March 6, 2013 • 6-8 pm • West Asheville Branch Library Program Room

Meeting started with an overview of WABA and some historic facts about the association:

  • Formed in 1950
  • Membership organization for businesses west of the French Broad River
  • Reviewed Objectives
  • Membership in 1950 grew from 16 to 92 businesses
  • Facilitated having a branch library in West Asheville
  • Established a central utility collection office in West Asheville
  • 1994 established the police resource center in location of current Harvest Records – this was the first such community police center in the area and became a model for others across the state – WABA paid all expenses on the space originally
  • Installed the Welcome to West Asheville sign and has maintained since installation
  • Held forums for elections and I-26 Connector discussions
  • Organized neighborhood beautification projects and community picnics
  • Annual Dues $50
  • Online membership form

The meeting then went on to a series of presentation and reports from community groups and businesses.

Haywood Road  Vision Plan
Presented by Leslie Fay, member of the Haywood Road Corridor Committee (HRCC)

  • Haywood Road Vision Plan has been in the works from 2003-2013 with extensive community input lead by the Haywood Road Corridor Committee with City of Asheville staff support
  • Tool to actualize what businesses and residents want to see for development along the Haywood Road corridor
  • Process included 2006 survey, with 30% response rate
  • Survey reinforced committee identified areas of focus: improving pedestrian options, multi-modal transportation, mix of business uses, higher residential density, streetscape improvements
  • HRCC advocated and impacted CBD zoning along Haywood Road to a limit of 7 stories, inclusion of buffer options and form code, as part of the Downtown Master Plan as it applies to West Asheville
  • Formed sub-committees to address and discuss main survey topics, held multiple community meetings for input on these topics: Streetscape and Transportation, Historic Preservation, Zoning and Land Use, Economic Development, Safety, Neighborhood Related Issues
  • 2011 survey reinforced the goals and direction identified from meetings, 600 responses
  • Current Draft of the Haywood Road Vision Plan can be read here
  • Additional input should be directed to Alan Glines (aglines@ashevillenc.gov)
  • Next steps: Council approval of Haywood Road Vision Plan and Form Based Code guidelines

Form Based Code for Haywood Road
Presented by Alan Glines, Planning and Development Department City of Asheville

  • Study area to include Haywood Road from French Broad River to Patton Avenue
  • Traditional zoning focused on use
  • Form Based Code more focus on design + form
  • Definition:
    A form-based code is a regulating tool that reflects a community plan through a document tied to an area map. The code addresses the relationship between building facades and the public realm, the form, scale and mass of buildings and the connection and interaction with the street. Drawings are used to illustrate adopted regulations. There is less emphasis on land-uses.
  • Includes: regulating plans, public space standards, building form standards, administration/definitions, architectural standards, landscaping standards, signage (Visual examples were presented to clarify these ideas.)
  • Creates identity for specific areas based on needs/desires of that area
  • Lot of opportunities for involvement in process
  • Finalizing RFP for consultants
    (Since the meeting the RFP (request for proposals) for the Haywood Road Form-based code project has been sent to the NC planning website and placed on the City web page. There will be opportunities for community members to be involved in this process as a steering committee member or by participating in meetings held by the selected firm later this summer. Please contact aglines@ashevillenc.gov if you are interested in being on the steering committee or if you have other questions.)
  • Next steps: evaluation of applications, timetable and action steps, public process, draft code, presentation to community and Council
  • There will be opportunities for involvement: email Alan Glines (aglines@ashevillenc.gov) to be added to the list

Mardis Building Update
The Bledsoe Building was identified throughout the Haywood Road Vision Plan process as the type of building our community would like to see more of along the corridor – two story, mixed use. At 442 Haywood Road, the Mardis Building is undergoing renovation that will bring it up to these same standards.

WABA asked owners/developers Russ Towers and Austin Walker to give an update about their project.

  • Mardis Building constructed in 1925
  • 15K square feet
  • Second Gear is in half of first floor
  • Their project includes the Mardis Building and the building behind
  • The building behind will house Crossfit Asheville
    (Since the meeting they have moved into the space.)
  • Mardis Building may have been design and built by same people as Bledsoe Building
  • Second floor is 7K square feet, use to be determined – office and/or apartments
  • Second Gear to remain in current location
  • Two other bays on ground floor: 2,100 sf and 1,900 sf
  • Expected nine month renovation for second floor
  • Remaining facade will be removed when electrical lines have been relocated so it is safe
  • For information on available spaces, contact Austin Walker awalker@whitneycre.com (P) 828.418.1278 (C) 828.713.0777

Key components of the Haywood Road Vision Plan focus on pedestrian and multi-modal transportation options. Bus shelters, sidewalks and supporting bicycle culture are all parts of the vision our community has for healthy development. In support of those WABA asked the Asheville Design Center to give an update on their bus shelter project and Asheville on Bikes to provide some thoughts regarding increasing bike use in our area.

Asheville Design Center (ADC) Bus Shelter Project
Presented by Alesha Reardon, Asheville Design Center

  • Location: Craven and Haywood Road
  • Reuse of materials from the New Belgium Brewing site
  • Gathering history of surrounding neighborhoods to incorporate into design of shelter
  • Designing a place-making/meeting space
  • Looking to speak with residents who have stories or images of east West Asheville or stockyard area
  • Time frame: Fall/Winter 2013 History Collection, Spring 2014 Design Charette, Summer 2014 Construction
  • Three designs will be created and then the community will vote on final choice
  • Pad for shelter to be poured by City of Asheville
  • ADC will partner with GO to build the shelter
  • Location will connect with greenway
  • Posters were provided for distribution
  • Contact Alesha Reardon aleshamyers@gmail.com if you have stories or information for people the Asheville Design Center should connect with
  • For more information go to AshevilleDesignCenter.org or call 828.782.7894

Asheville on Bikes (AoB)
Presented by Mike Sule, Director of Asheville on Bikes

  • Direct connection between increased bicycle parking and purchasing
  • One car spot can hold up to 30 bikes, thus opening up parking spaces
  • Build it and they will come, as shown in Portland where they have on-street parking for bicycles
  • Encourage growing infrastructure
  • Question from member: Is there funding support for bike racks?
  • Bicycle Benefits – program to encourage biking to a business, as a discount is offered. West Asheville participants: Harvest Records, Pro Bikes, Sunny Point Café, Blue Ribbon Hair Salon, Desoto Lounge, The Hop, West End Bakery, West Village Market. For more info: http://www.bicyclebenefits.org
  • March 17 Bike of the Irish event to celebrate bicycle infrastructure expansion and teach people how to ride the city (This event was a great success!)
  • We have some great greenway infrastructures in place and more planned
  • Strive Not to Drive coming this spring
  • AoB is interested in helping West Asheville focus on increasing pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure and use
  • The current Asheville Bicycle map shows that it is difficult to cycle into West Asheville
  • The City of Asheville and New Belgium Brewing are putting in multi-modal infrastructure up Haywood Road to Beecham’s Curve
  • How do we engage NCDOT and get them to participate in this discussion and assist with these needs?
  • There was a lot of interest in this topic – an expanded meeting on bicycle and multi-modal transportation would probably be of interest to WABA members
  • For more information on Asheville on Bikes and to sign up for their e-news visit their website http://ashevilleonbikes.com

West Asheville has strong ties to the River Arts District and those will become stronger still as the New Belgium Brewing facility is completed. Before we received updates on the New Belgium project we got a quick update regarding projects in the River Arts District. WABA will be looking for ways to team up with RADBA and AARRC in the future.

River Arts District Transportation Infrastructure Project (RAD TIP)
Presented by Stephanie Monson Dahl, Riverfront Redevelopment Coordinator and Urban Planner for Economic Development City of Asheville

The final presentations of the evening were focused on the New Belgium Brewery development and related infrastructure improvements. WABA is pleased to welcome New Belgium Brewing to our community and anticipates a strong partnership for sustainable growth of our area.

Updates at our meeting included those related to infrastructure improvements that are being handled by the City of Asheville and NCDOT. Jay Richardson, the General Manager for New Belgium Brewing in Asheville, also provided an overview of the New Belgium company.

Infrastructure Improvements
Presented by McCray Coates, Project Manager Craven Street Improvement Project, City of Asheville and Gabe Quesinberry, Mattern & Craig Consulting Engineers

Haywood Road Improvements

  • Sidewalk will be completed from Beecham’s Curve to French Broad River
  • Adding a bicycle climbing lane and 6′ sidewalk along Haywood Road
  • Improvements scheduled for Hanover/Haywood Road intersection

Hanover Street Improvements

  • NCDOT is working to improve turning radius off exit ramp
  • Turning radius at Hanover and Haywood Road intersection will be addressed as well

Craven Street Improvements

  • Design and build street to complete street standards which would include bike lanes, parking and sidewalk
  • Low-impact parking lot to be added at corner of Emma Road and Craven Street – this is to be public parking access for the greenway
  • Public greenway to be added along the river, directly connecting Craven Street and Haywood Road
  • Regional stormwater improvements funded by a Cleanwater Management Trust Fund Grant
  • Stream restoration through property
  • Reintroduction of native vegetation

Riverside Drive

  • City is continuing to look at options for addressing issues with the train trestle north on Riverside Drive

Timeline and Additional Information

New Belgium Brewing (NBB)
Presented by Jay Richardson, General Manager, Asheville

History

  • Craft beer industry defined as small, independent and traditional brewers of beer
  • New Belgium is third largest craft brewer in the United States, behind number one, Sam Adams and number two, Sierra Nevada
  • NBB was conceived on a bike seat, born in a basement and raised in the town of Fort Collins, CO
  • Collaboration internally and externally is essential
  • NBB is 21 years old and sell beer in 29 states
  • More production needed and closer access to east coast, thus the expansion of building a brewery in Asheville

Company Core Values and Beliefs

  • Remembering that we are incredibly lucky to create something fine that enhances people’s lives while surpassing our customers’ expectations.
  • Producing world-class beer.
  • Promoting beer culture and the responsible enjoyment of beer.
  • Kindling social, environmental and cultural change as a business role model.
  • Environmental stewardship; Honoring nature at every turn of the business.
  • Cultivating potential through learning, high involvement culture, and the pursuit of opportunities.
  • Balancing the myriad needs of the company, our co-workers and their families.
  • Trusting each other and committing to authentic relationships and communications.
  • Continuous, innovative quality and efficiency improvements.
  • Having fun.

Company Info

  • Certified B Corporation
    B Corps are certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorour standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. For more information visit http://www.bcorporation.net
  • 100% ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Program)
  • Asheville Employees will be able to receive shares
  • Co-Worker Organization creating a sustainable business that contributes to the community from the site/building to brewing process to distribution

Asheville Specific Info

Open House invitation extended to all
March 7, 5:30-7:30pm at Isis Restaurant and Music Hall
This event celebrated the collaborations that NBB has been developing in the community and the partners that have helped them to date. A summary of the event can be found here: http://www.newbelgium.com/community/ashevillebrewery/site-stories/13-03-28/March-2013-Open-House-Summary.aspx

(Note: WABA participated in the NBB Open House, sharing a space with members of the Haywood Road Corridor Committee and talked to many, many attendees about the Vision Plan and business organization. It was a terrific opportunity to engage with members of our community that may not have been aware of our groups.)

Following the presentations were some announcement of upcoming events and thanks for participation in community projects. Special thanks was noted to Nona Mia Italian Kitchen for sponsoring the GreenWorks clean up day along State Street, and for bringing pizzas for WABA members to enjoy after the meeting.

With the program over WABA members in attendance had time to network and connect.

Thanks to Susanne Hackett for taking notes during the meeting.


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