UPDATE: More on city response to concern over dilapidated River Arts District icehouse

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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From the WECAN News blog, below is the City of Asheville’s response to WECAN, RADBA (River Arts District Business Association), and RADA (River Arts District Artists) concerns over the abandoned building.

The city plans to purchase the building, which will likely be torn down. The letter shares more information about how the city plans to deal with the troubled building, the site of a recent homicide.

The WECAN blog covers the West End/Clingman Avenue Neighborhood area:

Friday, November 16, 2012

Dear WECAN, RADBA, RADA members,

Thank you for reaching out to City Council and staff to share your concerns about the Ice House property.  Please know we are working across departments and coordinating efforts to address concerns about the structure itself, people illegally living in the structure and violence or criminal activity happening around the property.  I hope this update gives you confidence the city takes the safety of this property and surrounding properties seriously.

With respect to the structure, the city recently acquired an option to purchase the property.  We are negotiating with the current owners, and approaching what we hope will be a closing date.  Whatever the outcome of the real estate transaction, we are confident the property will be secured as soon as possible.  If the purchase goes through, the City, as the owner, will evaluate every option, including demolition, to make sure the property is safe.

In the interim, the police department will continue to work closely with resource providers involved with the Asheville-Buncombe Homeless Initiative.  Early last week, they again went to the building and people illegally living in the building were given a seven day notice to vacate the premises and were introduced to service providers who can be good resources for the transition.  We were successful in finding alternative shelter for nearly a dozen people, but we realize there are many transients who also occupy the structure.  Officers followed up again Monday morning and found no one occupying the building.

Police officers will also continue increased patrols in the area.  The more information they have, the better they can do their jobs.  If you see or hear violence or other activity threatening to life or property, please call 911 immediately.  We are also encouraging the community to stay in touch with APD District Commander Lt. Jamee Crawford at 777-3607 and Community Resource Officers Evan Coward 777-4505 or Tyler Radford 545-8374 with the hopes the community will also continue to relay non-emergency safety concerns.

With respect to policies concerning deteriorated or dilapidated buildings, please see the attached response from Building Safety Director Robert Griffin.

In his email, he mentions a few ordinances and general statutes.  Here is a direct link to those items.

Minimum Housing Code (Section 4-217)

Unsafe Building Code (Section 4-180 to 4-190)

North Carolina General Statutes (160A-426 – through 160A-432)

Thank you all for taking interest in your community and your willingness to engage with your government.  I was unable to pull all addresses from the original email and would be grateful if this message were forwarded to anyone who may have been missed.  Please don’t hesitate to call if you have any questions.

All my best,

Dawa Hitch
City of Asheville
Public Information Officer

Read the letter here on the WECAN blog.

ORIGINAL POST: Here’s part of a letter posted by the West Asheville/Clingman Avenue neighborhood group at wecannews.blogspot.com. It comes in response to a homicide that occurred recently in the old ice plant building on Riverside Drive.

In light of the ongoing problems at the Ice Plant on Riverside Drive, the following is the letter that was sent to the City of Asheville and Ice Plant property owners on behalf of WECAN, RADBA, and RADA:

November 12, 2012

Honorable Terry Bellamy, Mayor of Asheville
Asheville City Council
Gary Jackson, Asheville City Manager
Stephanie Monson, COA Riverfront Redevelopment Coordinator and Urban Planner for Economic Development
Chief William J. Anderson, City of Asheville Chief of Police
Lt. Jamee Crawford, Asheville Police Department
Evan Coward, Asheville Police Department Community Resource Officer
Heather Dillashaw, The Asheville-Buncombe Homeless Initiative, City of Asheville
Marsha Stickford, City of Asheville Neighborhood Volunteer Coordinator
Anne Simmons
Tootie Lee
To Whom It May Concern:

On Saturday October 27, 2012, Stephen Andrew Marsh was killed inside The Ice Plant @ 91 Riverside Drive by Ian Alexander Allen. It has come to light that the perfect storm of homeless squatting, mental health issues, safety concerns limiting Asheville Police & Fire Department access and property owner neglect of security & civic duty have all contributed to this event.

As organizations representing concerned residents, business owners, and workers, we believe it is long past time for the problems at the Ice Plant to be addressed. It is unfortunate and tragic that it has taken the senseless death of a community member to bring about significant steps to fix this problem. This particular building is a public safety hazard, has recently been host to numerous violent incidents, is a significant drain on public resources, and represents blight on the many, many years of hard and committed work that neighbors, business owners, and the City of Asheville have invested into making this area a safe and special place.

At the West End / Clingman Avenue Neighborhood (WECAN) meeting on Thursday, November 1, Stephanie Monson shared that the City of Asheville staff have been directed to investigate both legal and fiscal possible remedies and report back to the City Manager with a comprehensive plan that would address not only the Ice Plant, but any other similar property situation. We look forward to the City of Asheville coming forward with the leadership that has long been desperately needed in this particular instance.

Mayor Terry Bellamy emailed a response saying that city staff was working on the issue and would report back.


Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

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