More from Craig Ayliffe, the Greenville Trader Joe’s employee:
At the wise old age of 62, and having lived in NYC, SF. LA and other high rent areas all over the world, I have come to accept it as a fact of life that where goes the artists and LGBT community (fairy-dusting my people call it and I am both of the above), the attorneys, dentists and speculators soon follow. The rents go up, the creative class moves on (West Asheville? Brevard? Weaverville?) I saw it in the East Village, Venice Beach, Bolinas in West Marin County, Barcelona and countless other places.
RE: LA, please understand that LA is not a megalopolis like the Bos-Wash Corridor. It is a necklace of small towns with small town ethos linked together by 75mph freeway systems.
The best way to control the growth of your community (and it should be done) is to limit the growth thru the elective process. You will have a fight on your hands, I fear. Best to start now. Santa Monica did it. Paris did it. Bolinas did it. Asheville can do it. And they are great places to live. With affordable housing and good quality of life.
Re TJ’s: I agree with the writer who mentioned the cost of organic food relative to disposable income. There are many people who cannot afford WF or GL on a regular basis. That will change when TJ’s get to town.
But look, I work for them and here’s my shopping routine in this order: Dollar Tree for non-name brand kitchen wrappers and bags and dish soap, Tj’s for the bulk of food, esp. the amazing prices on organic milk, organic OJ and organic ground beef and bacon and dogs without nitrites or nitrates, Target or W-Mart for medications and personal hygiene, cat food and litter.
Alas, Costco is not yet there (but should I put another rumor to rest? I could. heehee.)
Asheville, what do you think of Ayliffe’s statement about Asheville’s growth and the choices other cities made to invite growth while preserving city character and high quality of life?
How do we as a community invite growth to our city, while preserving what makes Asheville a place people love living in?
“How do we as a community invite growth to our city, while preserving what makes Asheville a place people love living in?”
Easy. Build in the same patterns that gave us the parts of town we love. Meaning, build in the same patterns that gave us downtown and neighborhoods like Montford and West Asheville.
The downtown pattern would mean mixed-use, multistory buildings with commerce and offices on the ground floor and either office space or residential space on the upper floors. The main benefit of this kind of growth pattern is that it puts a large number of residents in an area where they can get around without having to drive and take up parking spaces. It also puts more eyes on the streets which helps to keep the downtown area safer. Lastly, it just puts more customers within close proximity to downtown businesses.
The historic residential area pattern means mixing a variety of housing styles on gridded streets. You have small houses for small families or lower-income families, and large houses for large families and the rich. You also have small apartment buildings mixed throughout. The result is a visually diverse and appealing district whose traffic is dispersed along several streets that all lead in the same general direction. The traffic isn’t all funneled onto a single clogged artery.
So, that’s how you attract growth while still remaining a place that people want to move to or relocate their businesses to. The question is, will Asheville’s NIMBY’s allow that, or will they keep on their path of indiscriminately opposing all growth?
Asheville has generally done a very good job of “responsible” growth. Pretending that you can keep out box stores like WalMart or Best Buy, or restaurants like TGIFridays or Olive Garden is ludicrous. These places will pop up around towns of Asheville’s size regardless.
What Asheville has done a remarkable job at is keeping the majority of those establishments on the perimeter of the town. Sure WalMart, open up in Weaverville. Or Tunnel Rd. Or I-26. The downtown district still retains a remarkable percentage of small, privately and locally owned shops and restaurants.
And once every few years, an Urban Outfitters slips through the cracks and reignites the discussion, keeping everything fresh and interesting.
So many towns of Asheville’s size have a “downtown” area that looks like an airport mall – nothing but The Gap, Abercrombie, Victoria’s Secret, Barnes and Noble.
So, thanks for the Santa Monica warning, writer, but I am very proud of the way Asheville is handling its business.
ehem….. have you seen the aloft hotel project? in the middle of downtown, surrounded by historic buildings?
I’m not suggesting that everything downtown is perfect. I’m saying that Asheville strives to make an effort for sensible growth and that periodic intrusions like the Aloft or Starbucks or Urban Outfitters serve to rally the faithful and re-energize the resolve to keep out the bigger stores.
I don’t think I would call Montford or West Asheville fine examples of a mixed use neighborhood. The nice homes are spotty at best and the run down homes are plenty. It’s not the people incomes that cause this but is a direct reflection of the actual people that live in those run down properties. They just don’t care about themselves or anything else around them.
A live, work, shop environment is usually for the middle class and believe it or not we only have one successful example in WNC. I know your gonna hate this but Biltmore Park Town Square is the only one done right. You have mixed residential from 200k condos to over a million dollar homes. In walking distance you have a grocery store and several nice apartment complexes, drugstore and restaurants. I know it makes some people cringe at all the concrete but this is the future as population grows.
We have amazing savings and dickies for folks on lower incomes- and neither of them pull our Hippie card
The writer has a great shopping philosophy. Great pick of stores and savvy shopping practices. I do the same and only shop for the food I need for the day and nothing more.
Just don’t forget something I have discovered. The organic and locally farmed beef and chicken at Earth Fare are cheaper then the allegedly Harvest organic brand at Ingles. Still can’t find out where the heck Ingles gets its Harvest brand beef.