Update: New website, AshevilleRiverGate.com, launched to track Asheville’s riverfront redevelopment

Jason Sandford

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

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asheville_river_gate_2015Update March 15: Here’s information regarding who’s behind the AshevilleRiverGate website. From Mari Peterson, wife of Chris Peterson:

For the last two years we have heard about the plans but certainly did not imagine the entire property could be taken and their business completely displaced. In addition, the cost to relocate them would far exceed what the City would provide. But, they are not the only ones. When we began our research it was then that we realized that this Riverside Drive Redevelopment Plan and other riverway plans of the City are going to impact MANY property owners, potentially hundreds.
When we realized there are so many other property owners and tenants to be affected, we decided to take this public. …

We are here to provide a voice to anyone along this river path. A voice that the media is clearly ignoring. A voice that the City is ignoring as it quietly institutes its plan to take over property owners lands and displace tenants …

We are not against growth and development but building in a floodzone is like building on a volcano.

Original post March 14: A new website called AshevilleRiverGate.com has launched with the stated goal of tracking the progress of Asheville’s Riverfront Redevelopment plan. The site clearly takes a stance opposed to the current redevelopment plans, citing repeated flooding in the area.

From a March 13 post on the site:

So, while we are not against development, greenways, open space, etc., we are against the City turning back the hands of time and putting businesses and lives back at risk by recreating a situation that could be disastrous. The City needs to prove that it has put into place preventive measures. If not, who will pay?

One of the most well-known property owners to be affected is Chris Peterson, who owns the property where one of Asheville’s most well-known eateris – 12 Bones barbecue restaurant – is located, in the curve at Riverside Drive. Peterson has told me that he’s upset at plans by the city of Asheville to use condemnation proceeds to acquire at least part of the property he owns to re-align Riverside Drive. The work could displace 12 Bones. Peterson says he’s ready to fight the action with his own team of lawyers.

I don’t know who is behind AshevilleRiverGate.com. It’s designed to resemble an official government website, though information posted there makes it clear that it is a site maintained by residents and not connected with any government entity.

The site notes that the property acquisition process is starting now. From a March 12 post:

Ready, Set, Grab Some Land!
At today’s Asheville Area Riverfront Redevelopment Commission meeting held at the Chamber, staff were giddy with excitement. Why? Because “25% final engineering drawings delivered!” And, I put that in quotes. That’s exactly how it appears in their notes. Why is this so important? Because the City can now proceed with Right of Way acquisition on their 2.2 mile stretch of Riverside Drive.

What does this mean? Timeframe
According to Stephanie Monson Dahl, who was extremely excited, the consultants will begin ‘IMMEDIATELY’ pulling all plats that pertain to properties that need to be acquired.

Between June 2015 and January 2016, appraisals will be conducted by contractors.

The City has not publicized which properties this will effect. The 12 Bones property is a known property only because it is so directly on their plans and has received media attention since it’s such a popular restaurant.

In short, if you’re a property owner or tenant, you’re screwed. Get ready to get a letter.

More as I get it.

Jason Sandford

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

  • 1

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  1. Angela March 19, 2015

    Great website. 100 year floodplain means 1 percent chance of flooding in a year and perhaps as much as 2 to 3 percent. Stop gambling with taxpayers money.

  2. Barry Summers March 17, 2015

    Yes, Chris Peterson is all about protecting his tenants. Just ask Dwight Butner.

    And he’s all about protecting property owners. Just ask the Deal Buick neighbors.

    I’m not a huge fan of this riverfront plan, but Chris Peterson and his development partners have benefited mightily over the years. I’m having a hard time dredging up crocodile tears now that he feels he’s getting the short end.


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