To wonderful neighbors

27 Jul

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Thanks to the many wonderful friends and neighbors who made the second annual East West Asheville Neighborhood Picnic a success! I met new attendees who hadn’t known of EWANA and returning neighbors who’ve participated since our beginning. It was great to see the next generation of neighborhood activists and board members (our kids) playing together, too. I think kids almost outnumbered adult attendees — and that’s saying something! Thank you all. Please, let’s do this again soon. — Rich

 

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2nd Annual East West Asheville Summer Picnic

10 Jul

bear-on-a-scooter

 

 

2nd Annual East West Asheville

Summer Picnic

covered dish/potluck

Saturday, July 26th
4-7 pm
Hall Fletcher Elementary field

Bluegrass jam led by members of Red June plus pick up kickball and other games.

Bring: Neighbors, a covered dish to share, your instruments and a chair. Bring dishware for yourself if you can, to reduce waste. There is one grill available.

Extra bike racks will be available, please try to walk or bike. If driving park your vehicle in Hall Fletcher School parking lot.

No alcohol is permitted at the school or city park property.

There will be info on the neighborhood group and opportunities to connect and volunteer with neighborhood projects.  See the facebook event page here:  https://www.facebook.com/events/653220408098186/ 

EWANA 2nd Quarter Neighborhood Meeting Minutes

14 May

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May 13, 2014

Hall Fletcher Elementary (6-8p)

Attending: Approximately 37 total

Food Tray provided by Westgate Earthfare

Mandy Phillips, EWANA Board member, recording

Meeting Moderated by Joshua Martin, Founded EWANA

1. Welcome, sign-in, ground rules, introductions/announcements

2. Crime Updates

—UPDATE ON JOYNER AVE BREAKINS (presented by Community Resource Officer, Sean Davis)

Investigators have opened all crime cases in our area from 2013 and 2014. There have been 4 arrests for the Joyner Ave break-ins. They have evidence that also links those 4 criminals to breakins on Michigan, and other nearby streets. It will take a few weeks to sort through the evidence. They also are considering the possibility that other acquaintances may have been involved and can be charged for assisting (ie girlfriends, etc). **One of the 4 criminals that were arrested in the Joyner Ave break-ins is currently out on bond. APD is hoping to have enough information this week to arrest him on more warrants.

Majority of the break-ins were during the day, a few at night. The criminals did not seem to be armed when breaking-in, but they were stealing firearms. The police are currently in the process of getting a search warrant for the criminals’ properties in Pisgah View. Typical sightings were of people going door to door asking if “so and so” still lives there, or selling magazines, asking to use the phone. Because neighbors reported these incidents, police were able to document sightings and similarities and it greatly helped in catching the criminals. ALWAYS CALL POLICE WHEN YOU SEE SUSPICIOUS BEHAVIOR IN OUR NEIGHBORHOODS (828)252-1110.

—OTHER CRIME UPDATES

Sunny Point and Asheville Sandwich Shop were both broken into a few days ago. The criminals smashed a glass door and window. It is believed that the Sandwich Shop alarm deterred the criminal from actually entering or stealing anything. The criminal did steal items from Sunny Point. They have leads and are working to make an arrest this week.

The Sunrise Drive/Sebring incident- One man has been arrested for stealing a dirt bike. The neighbors were a huge help in this case by reporting information for the police to document. There are also potential firearm charges against the criminal in custody. He was out on parole when he committed that crime, so he is currently being held without bond. And the FBI is expected to be picking up the firearm charge, so that criminal should not be getting out of jail. He is a violent offender and hopefully he will be off the streets now. There were others involved that have been identified and APD hopes to arrest them this week for assisting in the crime.

—HOW TO PREVENT CRIME (presented by Crime Prevention Officer, Keith McCulloch)

Community involvement is key! Know your neighbors, so you can recognize suspicious people. ***ALWAYS CALL POLICE IF YOU SEE SOMEONE SUSPICIOUS. (828)252-1110.

Social Media is proving to be a great resource. Examples include: Facebook, Next Door, neighborhood email lists, etc.

Take a home inventory of your items, serial numbers, photos of your jewelry etc. All of these details will help police track the criminal and hopefully return your items. Items are in the process of being returned to residents on Joyner Avenue. Keith re-iterated the importance of home inventory. It can be so helpful to police.

(SIDE NOTE: Asheville is a leading city in pedestrian accidents. Officer McCulloch brought safety lights for pedestrians and bikers to use!)

—RESOURCES

Police Department Crime Prevention website: assists in home security, gun safety, vehicle theft, etc
http://www.ashevillenc.gov/Departments/Police/PoliceServices/CrimePrevention.aspx

Police2Citizen: look up crime data in your area
https://apdp2c.buncombecounty.org/

Next Door: EWANA has started a group for residents to communicate safely (not public like facebook).
https://nextdoor.com/ (also available as an APP on iPhone)

National Neighborhood Watch: Resource for starting a neighborhood watch program

National Crime Prevention Council: crime prevention tools

 —UPCOMING CRIME PREVENTION MEETINGS

Officer McCulloch is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, June 21 (9am-Noon) to host a Neighborhood Watch Fair. Location TBD.

Officer Davis is working with us to schedule a date to do a walk-through of the neighborhoods to point out areas that could be potential targets for crime and how to correct the problems.

3. New Belgium Updates (Presented by Rich Lee, EWANA Board)

—NBB hosts Roundtable meetings with EWANA and other organized groups. These are not secret, but they are limited to organizations with elected representatives.

—It was originally thought that lots of dirt would have to be brought in, but recent reports of toxicity have shown clean soil present, so NBB should be able to use dirt already on the property instead of bringing truckloads in.

—The noisy part starts next week. Big jackhammer machines will be brought in to set the foundations. Its just as you would expect, loud. Could start as soon as Monday May 19 and could run through beginning or middle of June.

—The Craven Street Project should start early to Mid June (raising the road, adding sidewalks, new sewer lines). This will potentially cause complete blockage of Craven Street. NBB is looking to see if its possible to start at Waynesville and block one direction of Craven and then once that is completed, switch and do the other direction.

—August/September will potentially start pouring the foundation, putting the walls up and the buildings should start coming together quickly.

—Logan Ave, Georgia Street are not in the Craven Project Plans. Not sure what the City or NBB plans to do. It is believed that a local man just purchased land on Georgia and Logan where he is planning to put condos/apartments. How to get Logan and Georgia on the city’s list? Contact McCray Coates, Craven Street Project Manager 828-259-5966

4. Proposed changes to Interstate 26 (presented by Tom Burnet, EWANA Board)

-There was an open house yesterday and mailers sent out to neighbors. This project started in the 90’s and almost died a few years ago, but has been resurrected.

-The overall proposal is to make a new bridge to relieve traffic from the Smokey Park Bridge, but other components of the project have been continually added (included West Asheville to Interstate 40).

-There are sections A, B and C of this project. Section B currently has the most controversy because there are four different alternatives proposed. City Council and Buncombe County have agreed on an alternative of Section B that does not turn Patton Avenue into a Boulevard, rather it keeps 240 using Patton Avenue (as it currently does).

-WAVL: There are 5 proposed lanes on each side of the new interstate (similar to Greensboro). There are traffic studies being done that do not seem to reflect the amount of traffic necessary for that many lanes. 8-10 lanes would take out a LOT of properties in our areas. Is it necessary or is it too big our area?

-DOT has recently been open to the idea of adding bike lanes. An Environmental Impact Statement should be released this Summer and we will work to get that information out to the public.

-Potential Time Frame: The city could begin purchasing properties as early as 2018 and begin the project as early as 2020.

5. Adopt-A-Highway (Presented by Ava Carr, EWANA Board)

-Should EWANA Adopt-A-Highway? Nobody opposed.

-Haywood Road is a highway. If we adopt: we get to put up two signs that list EWANA’s name! We are responsible for 4 clean-ups/year. Our area would go from 240 to the river/bridge before River Arts.

-WECAN has adpoted Haywood Road on the other side of 240

6. Logan Avenue Community Garden (Presented by Ted Figura, EWANA Board)

-The stairs of Logan Circle are owned by the County. But there is another set of historic stairs that is privately owned. It goes from about the Middle of Logan Avenue down to Haywood Road.

-There has been a slight interest to rehabilitate the stairs to create a pathway from Haywood to Logan, but the stairs need a lot of work, very expensive. Currently unsafe. The owner of the property would like to allow the lot at the top of Logan Steps (on Logan Ave) to be used for a Community Garden. That would provide an opportunity for Bountiful Cities to help us find funding to start the garden and fix the staircase.

-Proposition for EWANA to move forward in an exploratory manner to see our options for Community Garden and possibly fixing the stairs. Nobody opposed.

7. Short-Term Rentals (Presented by Kirk Weir, EWANA Board)

GOAL: TO EDUCATE, DISCUSS PROS/CONS, COLLECT INFO TO PASS ALONG TO CITY COUNCIL AT THURSDAY’S MEETING AND REQUEST A DELAY IN VOTING ON THE PROPOSED CHANGES.

-Chapter 7 Code of Ordinances: Homestay Clause (affects all neighborhoods except Downtown.) You as an owner have the right to rent out rooms for profit on a short term basis. The current problem is that people are running Homestays without being properly registered with the City and they are not always meeting the requirements under law. There are currently 2 homestays that are properly registered with the city. There are 430-450 illegal homestays currently operating.

The city only has two people responsible for monitoring and enforcing this law and it is not actively being pursued. If a neighbor turns you in, you may be fined $100 with minimal or no additional follow-up.

—CURRENT LAW

  • No rentals less than 30 days unless in commercial or a registered homestay. (Does not apply to Business District, Residential RS2, RS4, RM6, RM8, RM16).
  • Not charged the same tax as B&B
  • No fees to register
  • Limit of 1-3 rooms may be rented
  • No more than 25% of your total heated sqft may be rented
  • Minimum of 2500sqft house
  • Minimum of 1 night stay, Maximum 14 nights
  • Must serve breakfast or meal
  • Owner must live in the house, must be primary house
  • Must provide Off-street parking: 1 per room, 1 sapce for owner, 1 for employee
  • Must be 500ft between each homestay
  • May have 1 Full-time employee
  • No annual safety checks required
  • No proof of insurance required

—PROPOSED CHANGES

  • Minimum of 1200sqft house
  • Not required to serve breakfast or meal
  • Must provide Off-street parking: 2 spaces with vegetation or screen/fence
  • Ability to use an accessory structure (ex apartment over your garage) as long as its up to code

—DISCUSSION

Q: How will the city enforce the new laws?

Q: Are there too many rules to be enforced? Who is responsible if something to happens in a Homestay.. the owner of the property or the City since they do not require proof of insurance?

Q: Why change the laws at all? Never had a problem in the past.

Q: How will the city enforce it? One house on her street is a homestay, she has no problems with them. Another house on her street is a ST rental off Air B&B, has several complaints.

Q: City should eliminate the sqft limit. Its more important whether its your primary home vs secondary. Should be able to rent your entire house if you want to- should be owners rights. The extra income could help someone afford their mortgage or pay for their vacation. There should be no room limit and the owner should not have to be present.

Q: Can the law restrict Homestays in neighborhoods and only allow in areas like Downtown or on Haywood Road where its commercially zoned?

Q: Can the law restrict Homestays close to schools like Hall Fletcher?

Q: For the changes, for Air B&B (it should be up to the owner), but that being said… if Asheville becomes easier for short term tourists to rent than long term locals, it could hurt the already bad housing market.

Q: City is proposing to tweak the current laws, can they scrap the laws altogether and start new?

Q: In favor of changes because its not going away and we will hurt Asheville if we take it away.

Q: Is there a noise ordinance other than the standard 7am-7pm?

Q: Doesn’t the 500ft restriction eliminate the possibility for many of these to be legally registered?

Straw poll results

~27% even the proposed changes are too restrictive (primarily the 1,200 sqft requirement) [answer 1 w/comments]

~31% Support the proposed changes   [answer 1]

~12% Support the proposed changes but they are not restrictive enough [answer 2]

~31% Oppose the proposed changes [answer 3 &4]

Meeting concluded 8pm.

EWANA Spring Meeting Tues. May 13th

2 May

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Tuesday May 13th, 6 – 8 p.m., at Hall Fletcher Auditorium

Updates on neighborhood crime and arrests, short-term rental zoning changes, ongoing projects and new art.

Come meet your neighbors, get connected to events and get active!

RSVP or questions to eastwestneighborhood@gmail.com

 

East West on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/375334389207146/

East West on NextDoor: https://eastwestasheville.nextdoor.com/search

East West mailing list: http://eastwestasheville.wordpress.com/contact/

EWANA Winter Meeting: Minutes

28 Feb
EWANA 1st Qtr Neighborhood Meeting | Feb 27, 2014
Hall Fletcher Elementary (6-8p)
 
Attending Approximately 30 Total. Sarah Carew moderated the meeting.

1. Introduced Board Members

2. Introductions by attendees (name, street)

3. EWANA Announcements: 
—Ava announced Stephen Edge as “Captain of the Street Captains”. Explained that we want Street Captains to pass out flyers and announce neighborhood meetings. Passed around a signup sheet for people to sign.
—EWANA is currently trying to Adopt-a-Highway (ed. Haywood Road and Hanover St.; cleanups would be required four times a year)
East West Asheville Action Plan has created a sub-committee of EWANA for people interested. This is in the early stages. We are currently trying to schedule a meeting to prioritize and put our ideas together into a focused plan.
—The plan to get sidewalks on Haywood should be moving in to action in the next few months!!
Duke donated the land on the river to the City to finish connecting the greenway from the river at Haywood (past NB property) to the Dog Park and eventually plans to go down to Carrier Park!!!
   *Power lines will be moving closer to Riverview as part of this project, please contact Rich Lee if you have concerns or you are interested in helping to address the issues our neighbors may have during this process. (ric.hardlee(at) live.com)
—Riverview recently got moved up in the rankings for Traffic Calming! It is now the #2 street on City’s list. We are expected to get Speed Cushions in place in 2014!!!
—An attendee commented on how great the Stop Signs are on Beverly!!!
March 11 City Council will meet to discuss the Riverview Traffic Calming, would be good to have a presence
—King Daddys Chicken is expected to open in March!!!

4. New Belgium Announcements provided by Susanne Hackett, read by Sarah Carew
—From March to May, they will begin stabalizing the soil so it will be dusty and noisy during that period of time. The city allows them to work between 7am-7pm Monday-Saturday. NB has agreed to not start until 8am on Saturdays.
Ground Breaking Event on May 2 at The Grey Eagle, Free and Open to Public!! This event will be ticketed because there is limited space available, so stay tuned for information on how to get your tickets.
—NB is doing a Time Capsule, so please contact eastwestneighborhood@gmail.com if you have ideas. Size has to be close to an iPhone.
  
5. Keith McCulloch of Asheville Police Dept, Presentation on Crime Prevention
—Goal is to improve our Quality of Life
—Define Crime Prevention: understanding the crime risks and the initiative to remove them
—A Criminal needs 3 things: 1) desire/motivation 2) ability/skills/tools 3) opportunity
Opportunity is the only thing we can control. So here are some things we can do to stop people from having the opportunity to commit crimes and improve our quality of life…
Crime Prevention Programs- for more information visit ashevillenc.gov
1. Neighborhood Watch
2. Workplace Violence
3. Protecting Yourself and Home
4. Business Crime Prevention
5. Identity Theft
6. CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design)
7. Operation identification (free engraving device for individuals to engrave their drivers license # into household items). This will help track criminals back to their crimes, so they can be prosecuted accordingly. It may also help you retrieve your belongings!
8. Home Inventory (You can get a free brochure or disc from APD- record serial numbers of household items and keep in a separate or safe place.) This also helps track criminals to their crimes, very important.
9.Home Security Self-Survey (takes 10mins, Do It Yourself, it walks you through your house and asks you questions to compute a safety score and give you helpful hints on how to improve the safety of your home).
10.Safe Cam (to help with graffitti and other crimes, local businesses can register their security cameras with this program, for Free!) It allows police to use their footage to track criminals and cover more ground with camera recordings.
11. Active Shooter Response
Crime Prevention Apps- for more information visit ashevillenc.gov
1. Next Door (Free!), this is currently available for East West Asheville, please join!
2. Life 360 (Free!), Family Locator
3. Damini- allows you to record your surroundings instantly and choose to share them with your contacts.
4. EmergenSee- Staffed 24/7 so you can contact them in times of need
5. YWCA- Safety Siren can sound from your phone and call your emergency contacts with the push of a button
6. Sentinal- Will allert your emergency contacts that you are in danger
7. SOS Whistle (Free!)

6. Sean Davis, Community Resource Officer for West Asheville, APD
1. Addressed the recent break-ins on Swannanoa, Joyner, Michigan etc. Criminal charged with the crime is Jay Baxter. He was out on Federal Parole from South Carolina. His MO was to knock on someones door and see if they answer. If someone does answer the door, he would say he was looking for someone who used to live there. If they did not answer, he knew the house was vacant.
—Baxter was interviewed and gave information that was beneficial for APD to have. We can use this knowledge to try to better understand and prevent these opportunities for criminals.
—Baxter said he sometimes he would just park in a random neighborhood and watch people, look for patterns. Sometimes he would get out of his car and walk around to see if anyone was watching him. If he knew certain neighborhoods had a Neighborhood Watch or lots of people were attentive to strangers, he would leave and find a different neighborhood to break-in.
—Most criminals say the goal is go in when nobody is home, to get in and out without being seen
2. Addressed Westwood Ave
—Currently under investigation, so names cannot be released yet. Years ago there were persons that lived on Westwood and caused problems. He moved to Candler and did not have a car for a while, so he was unable to travel back to this area to commit crimes. Recently, he had access to a vehicle and may have been causing more trouble in our area, but the police have impounded the car and are doing further investigations.
3. Addressed Joyner Ave
—Believe to have the suspect in custody, name cannot be released yet.
—This is a motive of addiction, needing quick money for substance abuse.
***If you see something concerning, call the cops IMMEDIATELY. Please don’t wait two days to report a description because timeliness is very important to catching someone. Don’t Hesitate to call! They want the information and it may seem like you don’t see instant results, but it may take a day or two to catch someone in the act. So police want to encourage you to report any strange activity- it could help solve more crimes***
4. Addressed a group of previous individuals that were selling cleaning supplies. Organized Crime. They would talk to you and try to sell you on cleaning supplies, but really they were looking inside your house taking inventory, and they would come back when you weren’t home.
***Call the cops if someone comes to your door that seems suspicious. Let the police determine whether or not they are harmless. If they went to your door, they will probably go to your neighbors as well and if you call immediately, police can catch them in the act***

7. Q+A
-Are dogs a deterrent for burglars? Yes. Of course, that does not mean 100% of people with dogs do not have problems with burglary, but it is a good deterrent

-Is anything being done to decrease the amount of time it takes Forensics to get blood results back? Yes. The city is aware this is a problem. It is currently estimated that it may take years to get results, when it should be only months. There was a staff shortage, but the issue has been recognized and working towards improvement.-

Is leaving lights on in the house a deterrent? Yes. Make sure you have trimmed bushes, so they can’t hide easily. LED lights are very bright, they work well. Alarms are good, be sure you request immediate service to the police. Things like radio and noise are all deterrents.

-What local resources do we have for more crime prevention? Do we still have Weed and Seed? No Weed and Seed, but Neighborhood Watch has been proven in research projects to work! Know your neighbors, communicate, and definitely call the police when you see something strange. East West Asheville should consider starting a Neighborhood Watch. Use EWANA as a source to get started.

-When should we call 911 vs (828) 252-1110? 911 is for life threatening emergencies. When you call 911, it shows your name and address in case you are having a heart attack or cannot provide any information, the police still know where you are. The direct line does not show your information, so it does not tie up the Emergency line. **Don’t hesitate to call either number** Store the local number in your cell phoneso if you see something you can call the police right away. 

-Is there a way to let the police know if you are going out of town? Yes. Call the direct line to the Police Dept (828) 252-1110 and let them know. They will send an email to your neighborhood resource officer and others so they can try to drive by more often.

-What do you do if you see someone speeding and you know who it is? Call the police immediately! Don’t wait. Call immediately and describe the person and vehicle, if you have a license plate or even know where they live, the more information the better. It may not be solved that day, but if the have clues as to what time of day, it may help catch the speeder in action. Call the non-emergency number you should now have stored in your cell phone (828) 252-1110.

Other Announcments from the Officers-
—The Citizens Police Academy happens twice/year, Spring and Fall. Its a free, 13 week program, 1 night a week for 3 hours. They provide a meal and they show you everything about the police department. No closed doors. They want to teach us what they do and be transparent for us. You have the opportunity to do a ride along, meet the K9 Unit, Bomb Squad and more! Visit ashevillenc.gov to sign up in advance. Spots will fill up quickly.
Report Crimes no matter how Small! If someone steals change from your car, you should still report it! If you report it, it may give the police information like a description, time of day, or many other clues that could help them catch the criminal.
—Visit ashevillenc.gov for information on recent crimes in your area. P2C (Police to Citizens) and Crime Reports.
—Have the officers come back out and help organize a Neighborhood Watch!!!

8. Neighborhood Announcements
A) Maceo on Florida Ave is hosting a Spring Fundraiser, all proceeds are for Breast Cancer Survivors. Date is TBD. Please keep an eye out for fliers and help spread the word!
B) Joyner Community Garden is starting up for the year! Neighbors will gather Saturdays at Noon!
Meeting concluded 8pm

EWANA Winter Meeting rescheduled for Feb. 27th

21 Feb

EWANA Winter Meeting rescheduled for Feb. 27th

EWANA Winter Meeting Feb. 12th

31 Jan

EWANA Crime Prevention Meeting 2.12.14

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