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Neighborhood advisory council plan explained to business group
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 16:43

From Staff Reports

 The formation of a neighborhood advisory council was Asheville City Councilman Chris Pelly’s topic of a June 1 presentation to the Council of Independent Business Owners at Biltmore Square Mall.

Pelly began by noting that he is six months into his first term on council. He noted that before being elected to council, “I worked on the neighborhood level ... to bring in parks and sidewalks.” Pelly also pointed out that he has lived in East Asheville for around 20 years. The area long has lacked representation on council, he said

The councilman said he has observed over the years that “neighborhoods and city governments don’t talk to each other very well.

“I often thought it’d be a good idea to set up a mechanism” to handle the problem, “so Asheville City Council has set up a neighborhood advisory council.

Pelly said he envisions having a nine-member NAC to enable organizers to “get as much diversity on it as possible ....

“The idea is to take about six months and see how we could do better ... Hopefully, it can come up with suggestions (for improvements) to Asheville City Council.”

In closing, Pelly said, “I felt it’s better to start small ... rather than to impose additional bureaucracy on the city.”

During a question-and-answer session, CIBO member Robert M. “Mac” Swicegood II asserted, “It seems like you’ve always had your own agenda.”

Swicegood lamented that efforts, such as those of Pelly, have resulted in the delay in construction of the I-26 connector. He also cited concern about a proposal for Charlotte Street to be reduced from three lanes to two.

In response, Pelly said, “I want to get a fresh start here” on council. “I want to get away from that conflict paradigm.”

To that, Swicegood then questioned Pelly’s plan to have nine members on the NAC. “Don’t you think nine is going to be more cumbersome than five?”

Responding, Pelly said, “That might be right, but there’s others who want 15 members (on the NAC) ... The idea was to have broad zip-code representation, so that parts of the city don’t feel left out.”

CIBO member Dwight Butner said, “Chris, thank you for all you’re doing. How plugged in are” the city’s neighborood coordinators to the NAC plan?

Pelly said a key neighborhood coordinator will served as the city’s liaison. “But also the city manager has an interest in this as well.”



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