Gerber-site Wal-Mart voted down
November 15, 2000 - Just before 1 a.m. this morning, Asheville City Council voted to deny the conditional-use permit for a Wal-Mart on the former Gerber site in South Asheville.
It took 8 hours for council to hear testimony from both sides and come to a six-to-one decision against the permit, said City Clerk Maggie Burleson. The proceedings were structured like a court proceeding with citizens and developers alike being sworn in before giving testimony or presenting evidence.
The City Planning Department's report recommended granting the permit. Members of the audience who had been sworn in prior to the proceeding were allowed to offer testimony to the Council for consideration. Upwards of 200 people attended the hearing. Approximately 25 people speaking for themselves or community groups made presentations, with just one of those 25 speaking in favor of the request, said David Herbert of the Clean Water Fund of NC who attended the council session.
Most concerns against granting the Wal-Mart request revolved around traffic issues on both Sweeten Creek Road and Hendersonville Road. "It was dramatic and certainly very impassioned," said Herbert.
Charles Worley was the sole council member voting to grant the permit. Wal-Mart has the option to appeal council's decision to the Buncombe County Superior Court, said City Attorney Bob Oast.