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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Beaverdam Community Association Planning Committee December 4, 2013 Meeting Notes


Received from Marsha Stickford:



Item 1: Introductions: Meeting participants introduced themselves and shared where they lived and how long they had been residents of the Beaverdam area.


Item 2: Suggested Ground Rules introduced by Marsha:
* Begin and end on time
* Everyone participates
* One person speaks at a time
* No side conversations
* Listen to Understand
* Respect views of others
* Challenge ideas, not people
* Silence is agreement
* Follow through on Action Plans


Item 3: Purpose of process/what we hope to accomplish:
* A clear direction and process for bringing the community together to create an Association
* Improved communication to:
o Notify all residents
o Disseminate accurate information
* An organization that can help unify the community to address the impacts of change
* A way of helping build trust among residents and developing a structure to work together
* A unified voice to interact with local, state and federal government agencies around common interests
* Increased disaster and emergency response and preparedness
* Maintain and improve quality of life for residents of the Beaverdam Valley
* Identify and address infrastructure needs
* Building awareness and support for protecting the environment that makes the Valley such a great place to live
* Creating a place where a diverse group of community members can come together to have respectful discussions about important issues and concerns – where everyone is encouraged to listen and can expect to be heard


Item 4: Indentifying Challenges to the process:
* Keeping the process diverse and inclusive
* Making sure that no one group or special interest dominates the process or discussion
* Getting and keeping participation of residents
* Gaining consensus
* Managing community discussions so they are open to everyone
* Gauging the interest of the community to have an association
* Ensuring representation and participation both in the process to form the association and the ongoing activities of the organization
* Because of the location of the Valley, an organization will need to interact with city, county, state and federal government to address issues and concerns
* For the same reasons, determining the boundaries and membership of the association will be challenging


Item 5: What neighborhoods exist within our area? The group began the discussion of what the boundaries of the area are and brainstormed a list of existing neighborhoods and areas to reach out to. Meeting participants are going to check out the list and group areas that naturally fit together as well as identify addition areas to be included.
o Elk Mountain
o Belevdere
o The Timbers
o Creekside
o Wild Cherry/Killian Rd
o Aberdeen Meadows/Stuart Circle
o Spooks Branch/Bartrams Walk
o Beaverbrook
o Kimberly Woods
o Carter Cove
o Country Club
o Sherwood Heights
o Hills of Beaverdam
o Thoms
o Wolf Cove/Beaverdam Knoll
o Faircrest
o Beaverdam Run
o Web Cove
o Rice Branch
o Lakeview Park


Item 6: Discussion of next steps:
* Develop communication plan and tools
o Use Nextdoor
* Need to clarify boundaries - Evan Coward can help
o Word of mouth will be really effective – especially during the Holidays
* Clarify boundaries/membership
o Use access to Beaverdam Road as one identifier
o May be that it starts out as a large area that gets broken down into sub-groups
* Form 2 groups to work on 2 areas before next meeting:
o Communication
o Kick-off event


Item 7: Next meetings:
Communication Group –
Kick-off Event Planning Group –
Large Planning Group – 7:00 PM on Thursday January 23 at the Beaverdam Volunteer Fire Dept.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Beaverdam Valley Meeting

BEAVERDAM VALLEY NEIGHBORS 
We have embarked on an exciting journey! 
Along Beaverdam Creek, we are carving out our own unique lifestyle.  As Johnny-come-latelys, we are joining a historic pilgrimage, in a valley that seems to have been settled before Asheville itself.  For us, Thanksgiving 2013 will have an expanded meaning.    
More than forty of us came together at the Fire House on November 13.  It was well moderated by our neighbor, former Mayor Charles Worley, and expertly guided by the Neighborhood Coordinator for Asheville, Marsha Stickford.  We listed many benefits of organizing all valley residents, who choose to participate.   By a show of hands, we agreed to get underway, with no objections. 
As we advance, there will be challenges.   A Burton St. Neighborhood visitor told us:  “We butted each other a lot.  Then we calmed down and reached the solution.”  I am enthused (God within) about “sailing” with you along  Beaverdam Creek:     
         A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not why we build them.   I'd rather have my ship sunk at sea than rot in the harbor.    To exceed our limits we must test them. 
.
On a personal note, I offer to you music from another beautiful valley, in Austria:   Http://bgdlite.com/amazing-grace-panflute/#.umbmqgxtrac.email


The Meeting Last Night

While = works on the Unofficial Minutes, here is some of what transpired:

There was some discussion of the boundaries of the association to be formed.  Several Lakeview Park (Beaver Lake) residents were in attendance, and made a request that their area be included.  No decision or vote was done on this or any other issues at this meeting.

Volunteers were recruited for the Steering Committee.  About a dozen volunteers signed up.  There was no election of any kind.  Steering Committee volunteers may also sign up by contacting Marsha Stickford, Neighborhood Coordinator for the City.  mstickford@ashevillenc.gov

Marsha Stickford will communicate with the Steering Committee volunteers sometime within two weeks or so.

Volunteers may wish to consider items for the Agenda of the first meeting of the Steering Committee, and should communicate with Marsha Stickford to get them included

Kudos to Marsha Stickford and Charlie Worley for navigating the tough issues and running a good meeting.
And thanks to Chris Pelly for understanding the dynamics and letting these two manage the meeting.


Map of Beaverdam Valley, showing Associations

This Map was Displayed at the Meeting last evening.
Click to Enlarge

Nov 13 Meeting: Agenda and Discussion of Benefits of Organizing


Item 4) took up most of the meeting time.  Attendees were asked to name benefits of having an organization.  This is the list that was generated (Please Note:  I did not take notes.  Marsha Stickford put these on a flip chart, which I took a picture of and transcribed.)

  • Slow traffic down
  • Greenway for Beaverdam (Potential back on Master Plan)
  • Park
  • Social area for folks to meet
  • Road is narrow/issue with access
  • Fire/emergency responses.  Concern with response time.
  • What's our personality.  Vision for future identity
  • Communication
  • Influence on how area grows
  • Strength in numbers to get improved services/infrastructure, lighting
  • Form connections
  • Support to form community watch
  • Address issues like bikes and runners on Beaverdam
  • Attract families, focus on image
  • Emergency preparedness - Rain issues
  • Make sure have ways to gather ALL issues
  • Education about wildlife/birds
  • Next steps/Concerns in forming Organization
  • Focus on diversity
  • How can we contact everyone?  Methods to communicate
  • How do we deal with diverse perspectives?
  • Next Steps
    • Timeline -  Months
    • ListServ
    • Postcards - funding?
    • Distribution list w/notes
One important issue raised:  how can we make sure that all sides will be represented if a controversial issue arises?]

More coming soon . . .


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

What areas should be included in the new Association?

We feel the boundaries of any neighborhood association should be the entire Beaverdam Creek Watershed which includes Beaver Lake and Lakeview Park
  • We are all one ecological unit. A creek or river valley is defined by the sloping topography draining into the creek from its start to its terminus.  According to maps, Asheville's terminus of Beaverdam Creek is Beaver Lake.  For environmental purposes, no scientist would ever study a creek or river without including its terminus, since this is where sediment and chemicals will be deposited. It would be a very bad thing for decisions to be made without including Lakeview Park which owns Beaver Lake
  • Per Mr. Roepnack, the goal of the greenway group is a greenway all the way to the French Broad River from our area.  Sounds like the greenway group should be encouraging participation now by Lakeview Park
  • We have already received financial and planning offers from residents of Lakeview Park for an alternate use of the proposed dog park location
  • Geographically the one major thoroughfare out of Beaverdam Valley is Beaverdam Road and therefore Elk Mountain Scenic Highway is not a logical cutoff point for our association
  • All of Beaverdam Valley has an interest in and impact on the ecology of the Audubon Society Bird Sanctuary
  • If Lakeview Park is excluded they could form their own neighborhood association.  According to the info packet from the city, a neighborhood association (unlike a homeowners group) would include businesses and organizations within the geographic boundaries.  This would include the Audubon Society, the country club, etc. We are afraid that in the future these two organizations might find they have conflicting interests and we feel this could be avoided if we join together now.

Monday, November 11, 2013

FNADP Meeting Unofficial Minutes 11/11/13

From:  Subject: WE ARE ON THIS JOURNEY TOGETHER
Date: Mon, 11 Nov 2013 22:28:17 -0500

Neighbors -
The FNADP Meeting began tonight at 7:00 and ended about 8:25, with 28 persons present.  Moderator, Bob Roepnack, acknowledged the likelihood that ARK Development will not proceed toward a dog park at 284 Beaverdam Road.  This was calmly received.  Some even mentioned another 4 Acre site.   When some negative and emotional conversation began about "those few anti-dog-park people," Roepnack redirected the energy.  My opinion is that FNADP will readjust and continue, probably to find another location in Buncombe County.
Chris Pelly invited everyone to his meeting on Wednesday at 7:00 PM.   (Agenda sans dog park)  The Moderator will be Charles Worley, a long time Beaverdam resident and former Mayor.   The meeting is about the power of politics [from polit─ôs 'citizen' ].   Political power comes from a collaborative group of citizens.  The fact is that Beaverdam Valley is going to grow, the land will be developed, and we will need some means to structure a discussion about how all, who live along Beaverdam Road, want the valley to grow and evolve.
My opinion is that we will benefit from getting organized.  This process is expected to begin on Wednesday night @ 7:00PM @ Fire House.   I urge all of you to join us and participate as  citizens  of Beaverdam Valley.

On a personal note about tonight, I did not feel like a "skunk at a lawn party."  We disagree agreeably.  Of course, some criticism was unpleasant, but this is how community works.  I am hopeful that one year from now we will have a Beaverdam Valley Community Association, working together toward a greenway from the Parkway to Beaver Lake! ! 

STEP BY Step by ste...

Let Council know how you feel about this Meeting

Chris Pelly has set up a Meeting Wednesday, Nov 13, 7pm at the Fire Station on Beaverdam Rd.   Former Mayor Chuck Worley is to Chair the meeting.  Supposedly, the dog park issue is not to be discussed. As I understand it, the purpose is:
  • To determine the boundary of the proposed organization.  Bob Roepnack has said it would run east of Elk Mountain Scenic Hwy.  I believe most of us would prefer to include the entire Beaverdam Creek watershed, including the Beaver Lake area.
  • To select a Planning Committee that would set up the organization.  After the framework is in place, a neighborhood election of some sort would be held to select officers.
Several objections have been raised concerning Mr. Worley.  He is regarded by many residents as being pro-development and unfriendly to efforts to preserve wild areas and historic structures.  A professional mediator would be preferred.

The meeting is public, but there has been little to no notice.  This meeting is Chris' meeting, not a City function.  If it were a City-sponsored meeting, it would have publicity and City staff would run the meeting.

Many question the need for a meeting NOW.  Forming a neighborhood association should not be a contest for competing factions to try to gain the upper hand so they might prevail on the dog park issue.  The dog park question should be resolved through normal city procedures using "best practices."  In this process, the residents are heard, and their wishes are respected.  The normal procedures should not be short-circuited by going to Council, before a full assessment by the Parks & Recreation Department and other City staff.

Others question the need for the association to be formed at all.  They question the mechanism by which community sentiment can be better assessed, just because an organization is formed.  Such an organization is likely to be ignored by most residents until some issue arises, and the community learns the organization has already been captured, with all officers partisans.

Please let me know if any conditions or arguments have not been properly depicted in the above text.

Please let Council and Staff know what you think.


Email the entire council at   AshevilleNCCouncil@ashevillenc.gov

Marsha Stickford, Neighborhood Coordinator  mstickford@ashevillenc.gov

Answer the Poll at right.


M. Stickford, Neighborhood Coordinator, replies: Contact Chris Pelly

From: Marsha Stickford <MStickford@ashevillenc.gov>
Date: Mon, Nov 11, 2013 at 9:14 AM
Subject: RE: Beaverdam Valley Meeting
To:


Hi ,
I really appreciate your email and am excited about working with Beaverdam Valley residents as a resource as the process to create a structure for folks to come together moves forward.  The meeting on Wednesday was scheduled by Council Member Chris Pelly and is his meeting.  I am planning to attend to help however I can with next steps but the format and facilitation of the meeting is up to Mr. Pelly since this is his meeting and not one set up by city staff.
I think it might be helpful if folks would continue to contact Mr. Pelly directly about the meeting and share with him suggestions about a facilitator and it might also be a good idea to think about alternate locations if this is going to end up being a large meeting.  
I look forward to the opportunity to work with whatever leadership is identified by residents to move forward.  I believe everyone is excited about the potential positive impact an organized Beaverdam Valley can have on the quality of life in Asheville!
Thanks, Marsha
Marsha Stickford
Neighborhood Coordinator
Volunteer Coordinator
City of Asheville North Carolina
P.O. Box 7148
Asheville, NC 28801
Mr. Pelly's email is  chrispelly@avlcouncil.com  
or the entire council is   AshevilleNCCouncil@ashevillenc.gov

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Pelly Not Right Person to Organize Beaverdam

From:  Date: Sat, Nov 9, 2013 at 11:53 AM
Subject: Beaverdam Valley Meeting
To: Marsha Stickford <mstickford@ashevillenc.gov> (Marsha Stickford is the City's Neighborhood Services Coordinator)

Dear Ms. Stickford,
There is currently a great deal of confusion in the Beaverdam Valley and, as you know, confusion may lead to anger and mistrust. We were told that a neighborhood association should be self-organized and that city staff would be available to assist us in our endeavor. We wonder why a meeting is being forced upon us at a time chosen by a Councilman who doesn't live in the Beaverdam Valley. Why aren't leaders of existing homeowners associations and interested residents from other neighborhoods setting a time for this meeting? Is there an agenda for the meeting or will it be "self-directed" by residents and organizations who attend?

You should know that there has been a great deal of positive discussion and exciting ideas exchanged over the last few days.  We are trying to recover from accusations of being associated with and inciting criminal activity at the corner of Wild Cherry and Beaverdam Roads so we are "thinking positive and hopeful thoughts."  Many residents would like to see the long-awaited greenway become reality and to couple it with a garden for native plants where neighborhood children could be educated in local ecology.  As a former Children's Garden Director at Rutgers University Display gardens in NJ, I feel this is a real possibility.  Several residents have expressed great interest in forming a Beaverdam Valley garden club and working with UNCA, Elisha Mitchell Audobon Society and others to make an educational garden possible and $5000 has been offered to get started.  You see, there are many ideas spreading throughout the Beaverdam Valley. Some of these ideas were recently shared with Ark Development.

Brad Brock has recently sent an e-mail to the mayor and council suggesting that the proposed format for the upcoming meeting is divisive and inappropriate. Dr. Roger Hartley, a Beaverdam Valley resident and Professor of Political Science and Public Affairs at Western Carolina University has suggested using a facilitator from the Mediation Center of Western North Carolina for any future meetings.

We await you prompt and thoughtful reply. Thank you,



Friday, November 8, 2013

Yes, Stop Sign Is Off-Limits. But Are Other Signs "Vandalism?"



How many signs can YOU find in this picture?
Posting a sign to encourage people to contact the city council is NOT vandalism. There is no defacement of property. It is DEMOCRACY. Disagreement with your position does not warrant a witch hunt. I don't see anybody crying foul about garage sale and political signs, for instance. Has anyone taken the time (or called the city) to rip down the tree trimming ads on the utility poles?

These informational signs serve to notify the neighborhood about the FNADP plans and to encourage our neighbors to make their feelings known to city officials.

 
Why all this acrimony about a dog park? I live on Wild Cherry Rd. I don't want the added traffic and noise, light,etc on the only road that will take me home. I don't want a 15 car parking lot on the bottom of my street. Are we not entitled to have an opinion- even if it doesn't jibe with yours? These signs are not the same thing as the "defacement" of the stop sign.

 
How connected must the "Friends" be that they can pick up the phone and the city rushes out to replace a stop sign? It gives me an idea of what anyone who sees the issue differently is up against. 




Note:  This post originally appeared on the Friends of the North Asheville Dog Park (FNADP) facebook page.  It has been deleted by FNADP.  Comments that "address the vandalism" that preceded this post remain.  A subsequent post was made, and it was also deleted.  See that post in Comments below.


Roger Hartley: Mr. Brock is Right & My Proposal

 Mr. Brock is right.

I suggest that the city and citizens select a facilitator for the meeting. A neutral party. From the Mediation Center of Western North Carolina. Feelings run deep and angry. We need a facilitator who can get to the roots of the distrust and anger...and then focus parties on a solution.

I would also highly recommend that this dog park proposal be separated out from any effort to organize the Valley. We need a positive, open, and diverse group of people interested in representing the Valley and its needs to the city. i always fear organization of something that important from the seeds of anger and distrust. The conflict that needs addressed with a neutral party should not poison our efforts to do Beaverdam proud....and believe me...this will do that. Those who are watching this fight...are they going to want to join an effort to organize Beaverdam?

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I am going to be up front and honest as some of the things that I have read and proposed...and said and proposed are noted above and repeated elsewhere. I want to be clear about something. I was the person who first suggested and noted the idea of a "people park". I was critical of the proposal of a dog park as soon as I noticed it...that was months and months ago...and I would like to say publicly that I did so far sooner than many of you. I don't want to come across as arrogant...I mean no harm. I love my neighborhood so very much. I walk it...I run it. I enjoy the trees, the sounds, and now even those horses on Gibson across the creek. I am not at all excited by a dog park and like many of you, I think it was planned without our input. Input only occurred after many of us hear about it and objected. No wonder so many are angry. I feel you.

I dont want a dog park on that land. I want the Killian House preserved. And I advocated for that in emails to the council and city manager...many many months ago. In fact, the meeting that was held at Ira B. Jones was suggested after I communicated this to council and our city manager. Maybe Ill dig them up.

Even though I do not support the dog park...Yes. I have proposed...me...one person...a compromise solution that might attract more support. I did this because I see an enormous amount of development in our beautiful valley coming and, frankly, I have huge concerns about what Beaverdam is going to look like 10-20 years from now. The former Thoms estate is the tip of the iceberg. Have you hiked up into the hills off of Crabapple or Carter cove and seen the marked trees donating what might one day be houses? Do any of you believe that the land there wont be developed or that the land owned across from the graveyard won't one day be developed also?

My interest is in a park/greenway that might preserve some of this land before its gone...a real park. I think the city owes this valley more. Especially as it is being subdivided for development and members of council rely on development to fill voids in property tax revenue base.

My interests are clear. I will oppose a dog park unless it preserves the house and it incorporates a design that respects the environment, includes the beginning of a greenway, and is multiuse so our children and our entire valley can enjoy a park..and a greenway...as the rest of Beaverdam becomes suburban developments and one day little is left to preserve.

Last, lets all consider something else. The developer owns that land. What is your BATNA..."best alternative to a negotiated agreement"? If this land does not go to the city it remains owned by the developer. What will happen to that house then? What will happen to the family? What will happen to the land? Will it be sold? Built upon anyway in places where they are able? They have already raised the Thoms mansion and torn down the most beautiful historic silo that I have ever seen. I know that land well. And I'd much rather see something wonderful and positive than what it will be if it stays in the hands of the developer.

This is one person's opinion. I respect so much those who are angered by the lack of consultation with our neighorhood. You are dead on right. I will own up to be one person who believes that we might be able to work something wonderful out...if we can mediate this ...with a neutral mediator...and work together.

Best to you all.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Urgent Request from Brad Brock and the Beaverdam Valley‏

   8:40 PM

To: councilgroup, mayorbellamy@avlcouncil.com

Madame Mayor(s);

As you may have noticed as your email inboxes has been inundated with mail from Beaverdam Valley residents over the last month or so, the proposed North Asheville Dog Park has become a very contentious issue in our community. While I'm sure you've received both messages of support and opposition, I can tell you that as more Beaverdam residents find out about the plans of FNADP, more inertia builds against this idea. And, with real opposition rising up within the Valley, emotions have become increasingly heated on all sides.

I will not once again share my many bullet points of reasonable opposition to the proposed site and to any dog park being created along Beaverdam Creek, as I have written a couple of letters to Council and staff already. I am requesting your assistance, however.

Councilman Chris Pelly has made a mistake. Without first canvassing the Beaverdam community to find out if the Valley wanted any park along our creek, much less six acres devoted to dogs, as I'm sure his experience in community organizing would have directed him to do, he has become entrenched in what feels increasingly like a scandal. When the Friends of North Asheville Dog Park began to realize that opposition to their largely-unknown dog park location was building at a feverish pace, Pelly backtracked to try and save any political clout he has remaining in Beaverdam. After a discussion (at the Neighborhoods Festival) with several community members who are adamantly opposed to the park, he wrote an email stating that what Beaverdam needed was Organizing! And he was going to be the one to do it... He proposed a meeting an invitation-only meeting of 9 people, 3 of whom would be dog park advocates. This is a disproportionate  sample of Beaverdam residents ( or is it? They never canvassed the Valley to vet their ideas).

Pelly was met with myriad emails stating that the Beaverdam Valley is fully capable of initiating a self-directed organization process along with City staff, and that his meeting was felt to be a smokescreen to distract from the real issue at hand, which is the dog park. Also, folks felt a 48-hour notice to meet was unrealistic.

After meeting with Gary Jackson and City staff, who were largely unaware of Pelly's activities, he acquiesced and rescheduled the meeting for November 13th. He plans to serve as moderator and he will he assisted by the 28804 NAC representative.

This brings me to the point of my letter. The 28804 NAC representative, Council-appointed, is Robert Roepnak. He is also the President of Friends of North Asheville Dog Park and the moderator of the Beaverdam area's NextDoor.com bulletin board, in which he is only allowing dog park-supporting posts. Mr. Roepnak, as I'm sure you know, is the chief architect behind the dog park idea and it's current proposed site. Impartiality on his part is impossible. He's worked too hard on this.

Ladies, I respectfully request that the following happen IMMEDIATELY:

1) Chris Pelly, proving that he cannot be objective in this matter and chiefly concerned with his political career amongst North Asheville residents, must recuse himself completely from any current and future Beaverdam Valley organizational efforts. Also, he should send out a notice effecting the cancellation of his November 13th meeting, as it has not been advertised and was not requested by the Beaverdam Valley community. We can, and will, request Staff to assist us in setting up such a meeting.

2) Robert Roepnak, in the light of his massive conflict of interests and having proven already that he cannot impartially work with ALL 28804 residents, must immediately step down as the 28804 NAC representative and the City must advertise a new opening to find a candidate who is truly objective on the dog park issue.

3) Mr. Roepnak must also relinquish his position as moderator of the Beaverdam nextdoor.com board and an impartial successor should be found. If this is not possible immediately, then the Beaverdam bulletin board should be deleted and restarted.

I am turning to you for reason, for objectivity, and to exercise the power you have as Mayor(s) to put an end to this blatantly transparent dismissal of best practices and the democratic process as a whole.

Please help us. Call Pelly now....

Sincerely,


Beaverdam Valley

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Not Just a Dog Park, It's Multipurpose!

When our community didn't enthusiastically embrace the proposed dog park, the dog park advocates decided to market it as a "multipurpose" park, possibly including hiking, a playground, and maybe even a picnic area.  Adding these amenities was characterized as a "compromise." A compromise is defined as an agreement where each party gives up part of their demand.  Now, what part are the Dog Park Friends giving up?  They're just saying "We're going to have our dog park, but you can come too!"

There's enough room for every purpose, it seems.  On less than 5 acres total, without disturbing the neighbors.  Actually, if the Killian house is left with a tiny lot, the remaining land is 4.84 acres.  If the Killian house is allocated one acre, the remainder is 4.2 acres.  If a 25 foot buffer is allowed along Beaverdam Creek, 3.75 acres is left.  Fitting a 15 space parking lot into the irregularly-shaped lot consumes another acre, leaving 2.75 acres.  Dog Park Friends want at least 2 acres for the dog runs.  So the rest of us get ¾ acre!  Oops, there's parts that can't be used that are too steep or out of the way.

150 dog lovers signed a petition to have Azalea Dog Park cleaned up, as it was sickening their dogs and children.  Sounds like an ideal spot for a playground or picnic area, doesn't it?

Maybe if you don't follow the issue very closely, "multipurpose park" "greenway" "hiking" "playground" "picnic" and "compromise" are nice enough sounding words to make you feel comfortable about a dog park in our community.  That's what the Dog Park Friends seem to think.  But our community doesn't want a dog park.  You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig.  And a dog park by any other name is still a dog park.

For more details on this map, see http://rasheville.blogspot.com/2013/10/friends-dog-park-plan-draft-to-city.html


Note to Dog Park Friends: We Don't Hate You!

We don't want a dog park in our neighborhood. But it's not out of spite, or because you didn't warn us. It's not because we don't like you or your dogs.  A lot of us have dogs, too. It's not because we think dog parks are silly, or should never be created.

We have good, well thought out reasons, supported by qualified professionals, many of whom are quoted in Responsible Asheville.  Our reasons are not "garbage" or "unscientific" or "hysterical."  Nor has the expression of our reasons been inflammatory.  We respect your desire to have a dog park.  We did not decide our position carelessly, as we value relations with neighbors.  I hope we can at least agree on this.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Can't We Disagree, Without Being Disagreeable?

This blog has been on the receiving end of some nasty online comments recently, including today on Nextdoor.com in the Crime section for Beaverdam Valley.  We have been accused of "inflaming neighborhood sentiment to the point of perpetuating(sic) . . . vandalism"

I believe the posts and comments in this blog have included pointed criticism of plans and actions we oppose, but we have not ventured into the use of malicious or violent language to describe those we oppose.

Probably most of the opinions we hold, on a whole range of issues, are in agreement with those held by our neighbors on the other side of the dog park issue.  We should not let our disagreement on this, let's face it, minor issue, turn friendly neighbors into enemies.

Pelly's Meeting Rescheduled for Wed Nov 13

Chris Pelly  (chrispelly@avlcouncil.com)  12:54 PM
To:

All,
After meeting with the City Manager and staff this morning, I am in agreement tomorrow's meeting should be postponed to allow for broader public notification. 
As the Beaverdam Fire Department is available Wednesday, November 13th at 7pm, we'd like to reschedule for then. City staff is prepared to help with media notification and you are welcome to share this information with your neighbors.
The purpose of the meeting remains the same--a discussion of whether Beaverdam residents desire to establish a community association. Neighborhood Coordinator Marsha Stickford will be present to answer questions. Members of the council-appointed Neighborhood Advisory Committee will also be on hand to describe how other neighborhoods have managed this process.
A minor word of caution in advance of the meeting. There are limits to the number of persons the fire department can host. As this is an initial discussion meeting, with likely more to follow if support exists, subdivisions may want to send representatives. Again, the meeting goal is a discussion of whether to begin the community organizing process.
That said, anyone interested is welcome to attend.
Thank you,
Chris Pelly,
Asheville City Council

Monday, November 4, 2013

Pelly Disregards Objections, Plans Wednesday Meeting

Last week, Councilman Pelly proposed a "neighborhood meeting" to discuss the possibility of setting up a community organization.  He only wanted 9 neighborhood attendees: 3 dog park advocates, 3 "neutrals" selected by "the city" and 3 dog park opponents.  He would be the moderator and set the agenda.  He never adequately explained why residents active in the dog park controversy should be the ones to set up this organization, sidestepping homeowner associations and the interested public.

I and most correspondents found this format to be unacceptable, and let Mr. Pelly know our objections late last week.  Many of the letters have been posted in this blog.

Today, I called Mr. Pelly to confirm that the meeting had not been scheduled.  He told me he did set up a meeting for Wednesday, continuing his habit of ignoring objections and keeping citizens in the dark.

I repeated our objections, and he said City Manager Gary Jackson would be the Moderator.  He said any people who showed up could participate.  These objections are overcome, but there is still no public notice and Mr. Pelly still feels he is in control of the agenda. I called again and left a message to discuss the agenda issue.  He has not yet responded.

I encourage all interested residents of the Beaverdam Valley, including the Beaver Lake area, to attend.  I also encourage residents to email Council   AshevilleNCCouncil@ashevillenc.gov   to make them aware of your view of the way this meeting has been set up.


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Democracy vs. "I Want It My Way"


What is Democracy?   American democracy features rule of law, equality before the law, a judiciary to protect rights especially of minorities, a Constitution that makes fundamental laws very hard to change, and participation by all either in making laws or in choosing representatives to make laws.

What about "I Want It My Way"?  Some people say, and may even think, they support Democracy, but exert all their effort trying to subvert it.  Gerrymandering and voting restrictions are anti-democratic methods to "get your way."  Small campaign contributions are akin to votes;  large contributions give disproportionate political power to those who already wield disproportionate economic power.  Cloaking efforts for private gain as "reform" and other misdirections are also anti-democratic. And there are other ways.

Is there a gray area?  An elected representative might think "The neighborhood doesn't want this, but I know they'll approve of it once it's done."  This is actually not a gray area, it's how aristocracies govern.

How does Democracy set up a new park?  The elected City Council has established a Parks & Recreation Department, and working together, established Policies and Procedures and a Master Plan, all with public input.  Parks & Rec personnel look for land, engage in dialogue with the neighborhood on whether to have a park, and, if yes, what amenities should be included, subject to budget constraints.

What if someone gives land?  As a gift bypasses most budget problems, a park might be set up more quickly than envisioned in the Master Plan.  Wishes of the donor should be considered.  Even so, Policies and Procedures would remain regarding neighborhood wishes about whether to have a park, and if so, what kind of park.

How does this apply to the dog park?  This gets complicated!

  • There is a potential donor, Ark Development, whose Director of Development publicly stated he had other plans for the property, but would consider donating it for a dog park.  It's not his wish to have a dog park, but he will consider deferring to the wishes of citizens, which at this juncture seemed to be for a dog park.  I understand he had offered it to the city as a completed greenway with paths, but the city declined the offer, citing lack of funds for ongoing maintenance.
  • Friends of the North Asheville Dog Park (FNADP) apparently learned of Ark's wish to donate the property, and decided if they could offer to pay for maintenance of a dog park, then the budget constraint would be overcome, and the city would accept the property.
  • FNADP also understood that while there is a procedure for establishing new parks, the city does not have a Constitution or similar document enshrining the procedure.  The established procedure can be circumvented by a vote of Council.
  • On May 14, FNADP presented to Council the offer of a free park with free construction and free maintenance.  Such an offer is a rare event, and Council had its guard down. This sounded so attractive it could hardly be turned down.  Council voted unanimously to endorse the dog park, and to give $5,000 for planning.
  • At the Sept 10 Council Worksession, it became clear the city would be responsible to maintain any park it owns.  And there can be no assurance that FNADP maintenance funding would be forthcoming.  None of the FNADP "commitment" of $100,000 has yet been raised.  There is no way to enforce FNADP's funding.  It's not incorporated, has no capital, and no co-signers.
So a small upstart group decided a dog park should be installed in the midst of a residential neighborhood against the wishes of the residents (they didn't bother to ask), bypassed established city park procurement policies and the city's Master Plan, falsely claimed to represent the wishes of a donor, and misled Council with an unenforceable promise of a yet-to-be-raised hoped-for $100,000.  If the land is donated, all they need to do is build a small parking lot, put up some fences, and leave the taxpayers with a perpetual bill for upkeep.

This is how democracy is subverted on a small scale.  We call for City Parks & Recreation Procedures to be followed.  The neighborhood should be consulted, and any park should be established according to community wishes, subject to budget constraints.  Ark Development is already obliged to build paths.  That may be all the community wants.


Friday, November 1, 2013

Response to Chris Pelly; Cecil Bothwell Agrees

Cecil Bothwell (cecil@braveulysses.com)
10/31/13
To: John

I agree with your viewpoint on this, John.
-c

On Oct 30, 2013, at 12:34 PM, John  wrote:

From: 
To: chrispelly@avlcouncil.com
Subject: Your Proposed Nov 6 Meeting
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2013 11:57:14 -0400

Last Sunday, you stepped over to our group (at the Festival of Neighborhoods) and proposed a meeting to discuss alternatives to the dog park.  You suggested the Beaverdam Valley should be canvassed to determine what use should be made of this land which may be donated.  You said the neighborhoods should be "organized" so community sentiment can easily be assessed on this and future issues.   

We thought these were constructive ideas.

As involved residents, we know our community overwhelmingly opposes the dog park.  We know our few neighbors who favor the dog park, and we remain friends.  We are not "Hatfields and McCoys" as you suggest.  So the idea of canvassing the community is appealing.  But how can this be done?

Organizing the community, you say.  But disposing of the dog park issue and organizing the community are two separate projects.  There is no reason why dog park advocates should have any special representation in a community organization effort.  The same is true for opponents.  If there is to be a meeting to plan how to organize, the first step should be for each homeowners' group to appoint a delegate.  We should build on what's already in place, not start all over again.  The organizing group should not be in the business of taking a stand on the dog park, but merely setting up a means by which neighbors can be canvassed on that and other concerns.

But "organizing the community" just to decide the dog park issue may be a bit of overkill.  And, once "organized" can a poll be taken that will be regarded as definitive?  Would a surveymonkey.com poll be quicker and just as reliable?  Or you could simply stand on Wild Cherry at Beaverdam, ask passers-by and get a good sample!

The terms of the meeting you suggest are not appropriate.  First, you are a dog park advocate.  The moderator should be unbiased, and seen as such.  Second, if this meeting is to organize the community, the attendees are wrong, as discussed above.  Third, with the proposed attendees, it appears the meeting would be more of a sales pitch for the dog park, a rerun of July 18.  I do not see how any credible positive outcome could result from such a meeting.


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Wild Cherry Resident's Letter to Chris Pelly

From:
To: "chrispelly@avlcouncil.com" <chrispelly@avlcouncil.com> 
Sent: Thursday, October 31, 2013 10:03 PM
Dear Councilman Pelly,
In your Letter to the Beaverdam Community on the Responsible Asheville blog you misrepresent the opposition to this park on several fronts.
First the Beaverdam Community is not embroiled in controversy and there is no rift.  That is your characterization.  The Friends of the North Asheville Dog Park is a private non-profit entity and some members live in Beaverdam.  However it is not a community group, it is an outside entity that has an agenda that will impact our community.
The idea for a dog park was not generated from inside the Beaverdam community and there are those of us in the Beaverdam Community who think the dog park will negatively affect the safety and quality of life of our community.  These concerns were more specifically addressed in the letters I, my husband and several other members of our neighborhood sent to council before the work session and to Jeff Moore.
The fact that the land is free does not by itself make this an appropriate location for a dog park.  In fact some of the best practices for dog parks directly contradict this as an appropriate location, such as they should not be located in a residential neighborhood and should be located within the boundaries of an existing larger park.
We do not think the maintenance and security of a city park should be at the mercy of fundraising. If FNADP raises the money it will still be for an ill conceived addition to our community.  No one in the dog park organization or the city staff has adequately explained how the dog park will enhance the quality of life for the residents of the Beaverdam Community or shown an urgent need for such a park.
Beaverdam is a collection of many smaller neighborhoods, some totally in the county, some totally in the city and like ours part in the county and part in the city. There is general agreement there is a need for organization, but it would be most effective if it is done thoughtfully and in a time frame to get it right and should be initiated by members of the community. 
The communication problem is not within our community and with our neighbors.  We are actually communicating pretty well right now.  The communication should have been done by the city and the group that began the planning for this park.  The planning had been going on for 18 months before there was any public discussion.   It went before city council in May and most of us found out about it in the paper.  The city claims no responsibility for public notification because it is a passive park - how would we have found out even if we had a neighborhood association?
Our opposition has been characterized as negative.  Well a bad idea is a bad idea.  We will be glad to work with city staff or other concerned citizens to see something that enhances the community for all its residents is completed there.  We still think a greenway where the community can walk its dogs on leashes and will give bikers, walkers, runners a respite from the craziness of Beaverdam Road would be great.  A greenway is part of the Conditional Use permit for that property. A greenway is not controversial and would be much more straightforward and less expensive for the city than maintaining a dog park.  
Thank you for your time,

Are We Negative? Or Just Effective?

Last Sunday, Chris Pelly told me this blog is "very negative!"  We have since seen several dog park advocates use this word to describe the blog.

What does this word "negative" mean?  What are the advocates referring to?  What message are they trying to convey to readers?

At the risk of sounding like a UNC-TV spot, here's what the dictionary says for Negative:
  • Definition 1.b. Indicating opposition or resistance.  I plead Guilty!
  • Definition 2.d. Hostile or disparaging; malicious.    I plead Innocent!
The Friends all using this word is very clever, worthy of Karl Rove, even.  If pressed, they can cite examples of our opposition, or negative feeling toward the dog park proposal, as negativity.  They might innocently claim they intend nothing more than the simple meaning just cited.

But when they say "That blog is negative!"  Well, we all know what that means, don't we? Reminder: "Hostile or disparaging; malicious."  This is the meaning they intend to convey.

Of course, there's another definition they have for negative, but I haven't found it in the dictionary.  It might be too new. I only heard it myself for the first time last Sunday.  It's a synonym for Effective!


   

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

To Meet or Not To Meet

Many emails and a phone call today.  The question is whether the dog park opponents will meet with the dog park advocates, City staff, and Councilman Pelly.

Seems simple enough.  Why not meet?

Curiously, the purpose of the proposed meeting is to plan a community association, not to discuss the fate of the dog park.  The dog park would not even be on the agenda.

Mr. Pelly wants to have a "balanced" representation at the meeting.  So he's insisting that 3 dog park advocates attend, 3 opponents, and 3 "neutrals" chosen by the City somehow, for a total of 9, plus him.  He did agree that someone other than he could be moderator.

So why are dog park advocates and opponents tasked with this duty?  Mr. Pelly says it's because these people are the currently active residents.  But there are already several homeowner associations that have officers.  Why not include them?  Won't this group be seen as unrepresentative?

I and others who informally met Chris Pelly at the Festival of Neighborhoods event last Sunday feel the meeting should be open to all who are interested.  Mr. Pelly and City staff could expound on the desirability and basic mechanism of such an association, and all present could elect a task force to implement it, assuming it is found desirable.  I think the whole idea is sufficiently boring that not many will show up, and the meeting should be manageable.  There's a decent likelihood the participants will be close to what Mr. Pelly wants, but the selection will be seen as fairer, because it will be fairer when open to all. The establishment of an association, in and of itself, does not seem to be something susceptible to detrimental effects of malign intent by dog park combatants.  So long as the entire community is ultimately able to participate in selecting officers and expressing their preference on issues like the dog park, I can see no reason to balance the creation effort with dog park advocates and opponents, and I can see no reason to restrict the creation effort to those currently involved in the dog park issue.

Whoa!  What happened to deciding about the dog park?

At the aforementioned Sunday meeting, Mr. Pelly suggested polling the community to decide the dog park issue.  The association is supposed to facilitate this poll and future polls. Not sure how this works.
Mr. Pelly also needs to show Council that he and the Dog Park Friends have made a good faith effort to notify the community about the dog park, and to assess community sentiment.  If they are unable to demonstrate such notification and assessment, Council may vote down the dog park.  Of course, we have no doubt that the sentiment of the notified community will be against the dog park.

I am still trying to decide if I would be willing to attend this meeting.  But it looks as if the whole enterprise is designed to fail.  I will only attend if I think it can be re-born as a successful venture.  If done right, I think a Beaverdam Valley Association is a good idea.  It could address development issues, the possible greenway, traffic, and city services.  I would like to hear neighbors' opinions.


emails, emails

Lots of emails going around about Chris Pelly's proposed meeting.  Check in this evening for more!

Chris Pelly called.  More about that tonight!

John

Monday, October 28, 2013

My Reply to Chris Pelly

From:
To: chrispelly@avlcouncil.com
Subject: RE: Our talk today
Date: Mon, 28 Oct 2013 17:29:12 -0400


Thanks for the Post!  It's up now.  I made up a headline;  let me know if you'd like a different one.

I think you'll find that people are concerned for a number of reasons, but the common factor is rejection of a dog park at that location.  We are not convinced a dog park would be quiet, clean and well-maintained, and that traffic would be moderate.  We don't think users would keep dogs on a leash until inside the fence.  We don't want to doom the Killian House to being surrounded by a dog park.  Any solution to this impasse will need to give positive assurance that the idea of a dog park at this location is forever dead.  As for alternatives, I think everyone I know would be happy with any of the proposed alternatives.  And some residents would be willing to contribute significant funds for some alternatives.

Your idea of organizing sounds good to me.  There was talk of holding a Neighborhood Advisory Committee meeting in North Asheville.  If that involves notifying residents, we might coordinate that with notifying people about an "alternatives to dog park" meeting.  (We'll need to find a disinterested moderator for that meeting).  A police officer introduced us to nextdoor.com at the event on Sunday.  The same notice might include a pitch to get people to register at nextdoor.com.  Possibly the publishers of North Asheville Magazine might feature this effort.  Sounds like a good cover story!

About the blog:  They're actually pretty simple to do - just rather daunting to face the necessity of making frequent posts to maintain interest.  With Google Blogger, it's an extension of my gmail account, and as such, all posts are posted by me.  I've decided, at least for now, to accept any and all posts and comments, so long as they are decent and don't make ad hominem attacks.  Posts need to be emailed to me, but comments can be made through the blog interface.  Comments appear after I review them to assure they meet the guidelines.  I hope to use Responsible Asheville for other issues after this is over.

Chris Pelly: "Let's Get Organized!"


John,
Thank you to you and the others Beaverdam residents who reached out to me at the close of yesterday's Festival of Neighborhoods. Our conversation was certainly food for thought and I ask you share my message with the greater Beaverdam community.
 
Dear Neighbor,

In recent weeks and months your community has become embroiled in controversy over the proposed dog park. Although I am saddened the proposal has caused a rift in the Beaverdam community, this conflict also presents a growth opportunity.

Both sides present arguments worthy of merit that, taken together, outline a potential path to resolution.
 
Dog park advocates, the Friends of North Asheville Dog Park group, cite the fact the property owner is willing to make the land available at no cost and that they, the Friends group, is willing to raise $100k for design, build-out and maintenance of the facility. The Friends further say the park design will include amenities such as a greenway and picnic tables for use by all residents, not just dog owners.
 
Dog park opponents cite a fundamental problem with the proposal--mainly that no one asked if this was wanted by Beaverdam residents. Opponents believe the process has been flawed because the dog park idea was decided without adequate public input with no vote or other public process undertaken.
 
As a member of city council who is both a strong advocate for parks as well as neighborhoods, your situation has caused me to think about the best way forward.
On Sunday, October 27th UNC-Asheville hosted the inaugural Festival of Asheville Neighborhoods designed to celebrate our diverse community. One message repeated often at yesterday's event was the importance of community organization. We learned how successful neighborhood organizations have systems for communication with residents and how being organized can provide a platform for residents to articulate how they want to grow and evolve.
 
I say all this because at present the Beaverdam community, from my perspective, is essentially unorganized. There is not at present a system in place for disseminating vital information--such as the Friends dog park proposal, or any counter-proposal. There is not at present any democratically-elected community organization to help lead the discussion about how residents want Beaverdam to grow.
 
Without a process for addressing these important questions, I believe the Beaverdam community can expect more conflict. However, with an active community association, proposals can be vetted with and among neighbors in a way that ensures all voices have an opportunity to be heard. Building an organization, led by community leaders selected by their neighbors, opens opportunities not presently available. It allows the discussion to ask not only, "What are we against?" but also, "What are we for?" and "What do we need?" An active community association creates possibilities. It creates an opportunity to define how you want your community to grow.
 
I believe it is time for Beaverdam to get organized. It is time to come together to chart your future. Although the dog park proposal has created conflict, use this opportunity of heightened interest to build a cohesive community. Myself and the members of the Neighborhood Advisory Committee are prepared to assist in any way you find helpful.

Thank you,
Chris Pelly,
Asheville City Council
231-3704

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Possible Progress at "Festival of Neighborhoods"

Beth & John , George , Diane , Tyler , Julie  and Kevin met with Chris Pelly this afternoon at the "Festival of Neighborhoods" held at UNC-Asheville.  We had a constructive talk and discussed:

  • Lack of community notice, and the possibility of notification.
  • Our view that the majority of the "Central Beaverdam Valley" community is opposed to the dog park.
  • The crowding of the Killian House.  Mr. Pelly said that is under the control of Ark Development.  We said the City and Dog Park Friends had significant influence. 
  • This site is deep within a neighborhood; as such, it should not be a citywide destination.
  • Mr. Pelly suggested a community meeting be held, possibly at the Fire Station, to discuss what alternative use might be made of the property.
  • Neighbors are asked to suggest alternate uses.  A few mentioned were:
    • Greenway park, possibly with no parking, or with bike racks and minimal car parking.
    • Community vegetable garden.
    • Annex of Audubon Bird Sanctuary or Botanical Gardens, native plant nursery.
    • One in attendance offered $5,000 for starting such a garden, and suggested gardens are of sufficient interest that fundraising might be possible.
    • The Killian House should have at least an acre to assure its viability.
Neighborhoods are encouraged to poll their residents on their feelings about the dog park and alternatives

Notice of any meeting will be posted in this blog, and through all email addresses we have on file. 
Please comment or email with any more suggestions, and this post will be edited to include your ideas.

John

Friday, October 25, 2013

A Typical Quiet Dog Park

These videos illustrate why consultants advise that dog parks should be sited away from homes, preferably deep within a large park.  Dog parks can be noisy, and dog owners routinely unleash their dogs before entering the fenced area.  Just as dogs run into Azalea Pond, they will undoubtedly run into Beaverdam Creek.  How often will dogs need to be retrieved from neighboring yards?



Many other such videos can be found at http://www.closeshawneebarkparknow.org/The_Facts.html#Videos

And this video shows how well dog park visitors obey the rules in Berkeley, CA.  Check out the civil comments!  I have witnessed how well the rules are observed at Azalea Park. Many dogs are let free outside of the fence, against posted rules. They often visit Azalea Pond, where they drink or bathe.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Dog Park Friends Try to Prove We're Wrong!

Friends of Beaverdam Valley Greenway have posted an environmental defense of dog parks on their facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Friends-of-Beaverdam-Valley-Greenway/276021862446710?hc_location=stream
The post begins with the assertion "The facts about the proposed Dog Park are not found on the Responsible Asheville Blog."  Thanks for the plug, Bob!
 
One post goes on to feature four studies that purport to show we are wrong.  The first three links deal with the issue of fecal coliform contamination of streams, and the fourth link doesn't work.
  • In fact, we never suggested that the stream would be polluted by fecal coliform or other products of feces.  We did say that nitrogen from urine can feed blue-green algae, which can be toxic to fish, animals, and humans.  This is supported by Dr. Hauser's Preliminary Report.
  • We also asserted that Giardia and other pathogens from feces can thrive in wet muddy ground within the dog park enclosure, and be transmitted to dogs and people.  This has already happened, this year, at Azalea Dog Park.
  • Dog Park Friends like the Beaverdam site partly because of the trees and shade.  We posted an article from The Atlantic Monthly, generally considered a reliable source, stating that dog urine can kill trees.
The other post states "The FNADP (Friends of the North Asheville Dog Park) are committed to working out the details of a long term maintenance agreement with the city and Thoms Estate developer to assure the park will be a wonderful place to get out and move with and without dogs."
  • Assistant Parks & Rec Director Debbie Ivester:
    gave an example of another City playground started by neighbors in the community. The group had raised funds for 5 years worth of maintenance, but after 5 years, many of those families' children had outgrown the park and the core group somewhat dissipated, leaving little funding for continued upkeep.
  • Minutes of 9/10 Council Worksession:  "The City can only commit to the standards of development for maintenance of the existing dog parks."  That is, the new dog park will be maintained just like the others.  
  • The FNADP "commitment" is unenforceable.  Once the city has the land, the city is responsible to maintain it.  There will be very little incentive for individuals to help once the park is established.

As I don't have a facebook account, would some readers please post a response on the facebook page?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Response to Councilman Pelly

From: Diane 
Date: Wed, Oct 23, 2013 at 11:11 AM
Subject: North Asheville Dog Park
To: Chris Pelly <chrispelly@avlcouncil.com>


Dear Councilman Pelly,
Thank you for your prompt response to my October 19th letter.  Contrary to your implications, I am quite well informed of the issues and controversies surrounding the proposed North Asheville Dog Park.  I first heard of the proposed site in May of this year.   I acquired this information from a neighbor and friend.  I did attend the June meeting at Jones Elementary School.  It was memorable to me for several reasons. I raised my hand numerous times but you chose not to call on me. I can only assume this was because I was sitting behind a group who were strongly opposing the chosen site.  I spoke to you after the meeting about Dr. Hauser's Preliminary Environmental Assessment and found your response to be both condescending and uninformed.  Your response (as well as I can remember it) was "Who is this Dr. Hauser?  I never heard of him." This response has been passed on to the Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society, who recently honored Dr. Hauser for his contributions to the environment at the Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary. EMAS has already written a letter to council opposing the dog park site without a complete and independent environmental assessment.  I was told by president Tom Tribble that this represents a membership of close to 200 individuals.  I had the distinct impression that city employees attending the June meeting already had their minds made up.  This is why we are asking for an independent assessment.

I also attended the September 10th work session.  Dr. Hauser was asked to attend this meeting but council never asked him to speak. (I guess we already have enough Phds in environmental biology on city staff). The concerns expressed by citizens were either glossed over as being small inconveniences or ignored completely. I agree that all of those issues have been discussed many times but adequate answers have not been provided by you, Friends of the Dog Park or city staff.

I also agree with you that my neighbors and all residents of the surrounding community should be kept informed and I am doing my part to do so.  The Lakeview Park Association annual meeting was held on Monday, October 21st. I brought up my concerns about the dog park site and the water quality of Beaver Lake.  (As you must know, the Lakeview Park Commission has already expressed these  concerns to the city).  By a show of hands at the meeting, Lakeview Park residents overwhelmingly opposed developing the dog park without a complete and independent environmental assessment. Flyers have been circulated throughout some communities to "get the word out"  to those who are uninformed.
 We are currently discussing whether we should distribute flyers to the approximately 485 residences in the Lakeview Park community.  It would seem prudent since not all residents attended Monday's meeting and those who did were very concerned about Beaver Lake.  You should know that residents have strong emotions concerning the lake.  It is maintained and protected by homeowners dues with no help from the City of Asheville and yet generously opened to the public.  Any damage to the lake may result in a dramatic increase in dues. A few residents even brought up the option of fencing off the area and making it available only to LVP residents.  This would be a last resort which I hope never occurs.

For the reasons discussed above, I believe a meeting with you at this time would be completely unproductive but I would like to thank you for your offer.


Diane