Biltmore Company seeks property rezonings

(Ashvegas) The Buncombe County Planning Board will consider a rezoning request from the Biltmore Company at the board’s April 7 meeting. The Biltmore Company wants three lots, designated with the names Fish Pond Road, Biltmore Estate Drive and Brevard Road rezoned from commercial service district to conference center/resort district. The last major development on the Biltmore Estate was completed in 2010, when the estate opened Antler Village and remodeled its winery. The Inn on Biltmore is the Estate’s upscale, four-diamond hotel on its property, opened in 2001.

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City schools announce superintendent finalists

(Asheville Citizen-Times) The Asheville City Board of Education announced three finalists Friday in the search for the district’s next superintendent. The three candidates are Ronald Hargrave of Statesville, N.C.; Jeff Cox of Sparta, N.C. and Pamela Baldwin of Laurinburg, N.C. The three were chosen from more than 100 applicants in a national search managed by HYA and Associates. The board hopes to name the new superintendent by mid-April with a projected start date of July 1.

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Asheville looking to tighten vacation rental rules

(Asheville Citizen-Times) Dozens of homes in Asheville rent for periods as short as a night or two despite city zoning rules that prohibit the practice in most residential neighborhoods. That’s prompted a push by owners of some of the properties to loosen the rules and a push back from neighborhood advocates who say short-term vacation rentals can be a nuisance. City staffers plan to bring options for dealing with the issue to a City Council committee within three months.

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Thousands Pay Tribute To Fallen WNC Officer

(WLOS Channel 13 News) A solemn and emotional farewell as an officer who paid the ultimate sacrifice is laid to rest. Thousands of law enforcement, state officials, friends and family crowded into McDowell High School to say their final goodbyes to Officer Jason Crisp and K9 Officer Maros. His loved ones spoke at the memorial service and friends had tearful words for the fallen officer. Officer Crisp was described as Christ-like, loving, giving and dedicated. It was evident by the packed room, including hundreds of uniformed personnel and dignitaries, that Officer Crisp made a major impact on the community.

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A dedication Facebook page has been set up for Officer Crisp and Maros.
Click HERE for the page.

Asheville groups object to I-26 Connector move

(Asheville Citizen-Times) It is too soon for local governments to endorse a proposed route for the I-26 Connector, neighborhood groups that could be affected by the project said Monday. “It is premature to ask the city and the county to endorse an alternative prior to the completion of the environmental impact statement and a full understanding of the relative impacts and benefits of each alternative,” says a statement released by I-26 ConnectUs Project, composed of neighborhood groups organized by environmental organization Western North Carolina Alliance. Buncombe County commissioners are scheduled to consider a resolution Tuesday that backs a route called 3C for the portion of the connector that includes a new crossing of the French Broad River north of Bowen Bridge.

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Asheville gets faster broadband service

(Asheville Citizen-Times) After four years of laying fiber-optic lines underground, RST Fiber switched on its broadband pipeline from Murphy to Manteo on Tuesday, making North Carolina the first “gigabyte” state.With the 3,100-mile 100-gigabyte pipeline looping beneath downtown Asheville, area residents and businesses could be among the first in the state to upload and download video, files and data hundreds of times faster than broadband speeds now offered by telecom and cable companies.

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I-26 Connection Challenge

(WLOS News 13) Community leaders are working together, under deadline, to decide on the controversial Interstate 26 connector. City and county leaders have until March 31st, to decide on one route for the connector. DOT says this is the deadline that will make the project a priority for state funding. Some community leaders say, by backing one connector route, the project will move higher on the priority list. But others say the deadline is unfair.

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Apartments planned on Asheville’s South Slope

(Asheville Citizen-Times) Owners of a vacant lot on Coxe Avenue propose putting an eight-story apartment building there, potentially giving a big boost to the ongoing transformation of downtown’s South Slope. If the proposed project by companies from Charlotte and Wilmington gets built, the South Slope “is going to start feeling really different,” said Alan Glines, a city planner.There are already five craft breweries within a couple of blocks of the site.

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Promoter Cancels Festival After Similar Festival Gets Big $$$ From Local Govt.

(WLOS News 13) The promoter of the Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit festival has pulled the plug on this year’s event. AC Entertainment says, “unfortunately, the success necessary to sustain the venture has eluded us.” The festival was scheduled for October. The Mountain Oasis fest was a spinoff of Moog fest which happens in the spring. AC Entertainment produced Moogfest the first three years but broke off last year and produced it’s own electronic music festival of a different name.City councilman Cecil Bothwell was disappointed about the loss but says the Moog fest is creating lots of new opportunities. Bothwell says, “the city gave $40,000 in cash and $50,000 in services to this year’s festival which is changing.”

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Hops growing on the minds of Appalachian agriculture

(Smoky Mountain News) Heidi Dunkelberg is determined to make hops synonymous with Western North Carolina. “I’ve got to figure it out,” she said. “There’s just got to be some way, there’s just got to be.”  Dunkelberg owns the Coffee Cup Café in Clyde, but she also runs H&K Hops Farm in Beaverdam. Coming into her sixth year of growing hops — a key ingredient in craft beer — she’s pushing the boundaries and expectations of someone being able to actually produce hops in this mountainous region.  “We’ve just got to keep moving forward,” she said. “We need to keep getting more people involved, keep working with local brewers, doing the right thing, which is quality over quantity.” Dunkelberg isn’t alone in her quest. Amid the recent craft beer explosion in Western North Carolina, where dozens of breweries have seemingly emerged on every Asheville street and in all the region’s small towns, the area is now an epicenter for the industry. That sudden influx of business and interest has also shifted the need into overdrive for hops, grains, malts and other materials used in the brewing process.

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