by Leslee Kulba
Wild West blogger
There is concern, probably from the proverbial neighborhood, that Western Carolina University should be abiding by Jackson County zoning laws. The argument goes, “The City of Asheville oversees UNC-Asheville through zoning regulations.” And so, the new dorm proposed would become a matter of public input. That is, folks could whine that they want it to consist of quaint little bungaloes of community character, LEED-certified with Energy Star appliances, no more than two stories high, insufficiently dense for the developer to break even on the investment, with 50% of units rent-controlled in perpetuity as affordable to students earning no more than 80% of AMI and the other 50% mixed-use storefronts with fenestration for pedestrian interaction. Said bungaloes would be surrounded in lush vegetation to exclude crepe myrtles and vinca, a car-free zone traversed only with obesity-fighting impervious pavers for community dogs – you know the rap. If Jackson County zoners were half awake, and they felt compelled to zone the university, don’t you think they would have zoned it something like, “University”? What if the physics department wanted to build a cyclotron?