Government Accountability Project Asheville

The Community Reparations Commission will hold their next meeting TONIGHT, Monday, September 18th from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. The meeting will be held at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center Banquet Hall at 87 Haywood Street in Asheville. The public is welcome to attend. Meeting materials are available here. The meeting will be recorded and streamed here.

The Buncombe County Commission meets this Tuesday, September 19th, 2023 at 5:00 pm, at 200 College Street, Room 326, in downtown Asheville. You can watch the meeting online (or a recording of it) via Buncombe County’s Facebook page. The full agenda is here.


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Use our prepared email template to take action on this week’s item.


Things that sound like a step in the right direction

Asheville City Schools Equity Statement – Asheville City School Board Meeting, September 11, 2023

Back in June, the Asheville City School Board adopted an Equity Statement. At last week’s meeting, the School Board voted unanimously to read this statement at the beginning of each meeting.

We want to salute the school board for these steps, and especially lift up the leadership of Executive Director of Equity and Community Engagement Marta Alcalá in developing this statement and the overarching equity strategy in Asheville City Schools. We would like to commend Director Alcalá and the School Board for centering racial equity and committing to anti-racist policies despite resistance and hostility that seem to accompany these important steps toward racial justice.

Things to do

Write to the Asheville City School Board and Director Alcalá and thank them for recognizing the centrality of equity considerations in their work.

We have prepared an email template that addresses this issue. You can (a) use our Asheville City Schools template to open up an email to adapt, (b) copy and paste the content below, or (c) write your own message to,,,,,,,


Updates on previous items

Update: Rezoning of 1 Oak Street for the development of several multi-story buildings consisting of residential, hotel, retail, and office uses. (Staff memo, Presentation)

City Council spent over an hour on this public hearing on September 12th, but ultimately voted to table the official public hearing (and vote) until September 26th. They are being asked to approve a rezoning request for a 10.5 acre parcel containing three properties. The long-term plan is to build five buildings: a six-story building with residential and retail spaces, a second six-story building with office and commercial spaces, a third six-story building with residential and commercial spaces, a nineteen-story building with residential and commercial spaces, and a twenty-story hotel.

Thanks in part to the actions of GAP subscribers, the final vote on this issue was postponed for a second time. We continue to have many of the same concerns raised in our August 21st GAP Report and our September 11th GAP Report. The East End/Valley Street neighborhood is Asheville’s oldest historical Black community, and its residents have misgivings about aspects of this project, including the height of the proposed hotel, which is projected to be the tallest in Asheville at twenty stories. This is why we have been emphasizing how important it is that East End’s concerns and needs be influential as this process moves forward.

Before the September 12th meeting, we reported that the developers (Project Aspire) had communicated a commitment to “offer (East End residents) a seat at the table next to us during the project process.” These commitments were not recorded as conditions for the rezoning. This omission was raised at the City Council meeting, and one of the reasons for the delay in the vote was to remedy that and make sure that the developer’s commitments to the community were included in the conditions for the rezoning.

We will be reaching out to the East End community to learn more about their concerns and desires regarding the revised rezoning request, and will share that in our next report.

Things to do

There is no action we’re recommending at this time. We will update you on the status of this issue prior to the September 26th City Council meeting, when this item is expected to be on the agenda.


You can open this email in your own email program by clicking here. To proceed manually, you can copy and paste the text below into an email and then address it to the addresses listed. Please consider making edits that reflect your personal interests and concerns on this issue.

Send to:,,,,,,,

Subject: I appreciate your leadership on equity in our schools

Dear Executive Director of Equity and Community Engagement Alcalá and Members of the Asheville City School Board,

I’m writing to express appreciation for your work in prioritizing equity considerations in your work together. I am thankful to you, Director Alcalá, for all your work in developing and championing the Equity Statement, and to you, School Board Members, for adopting it in June and voting in your most recent meeting that it be read at the opening of all of your meetings. These seem like important steps in elevating this issue and keeping it front and center as you work together to support our schools in achieving equity in education for all students.

Thank you for your leadership,