The Buncombe County Commissioners’ meeting was more dynamic than usual, even though most votes of the expanded and newly bipartisan board were unanimous. Of note was a zoning hearing. Recent state legislation transferring airport property from municipal to county jurisdiction demanded zoning for parcels that were no longer on an island flanked by ribbons of city and DOT properties. The problem was, Mike Summey had planned to build an airport-style hotel-looking building before the economy slouched. It was going to be 140 feet tall. The FAA had given him their blessing to build up to 160 feet, but no county zonings allow buildings to be taller than 90 feet.

Commissioners were perplexed. They all liked the building. It would attract businesses that would create jobs. It was such a great concept, the commissioners voted to delay consideration. Only Ellen Frost was opposed. She argued countywide zoning had been unfair to a lot of people when it was introduced. She therefore did not want to make an exception to the imposition. Later in the meeting, citizen Alan Ditmore argued she had been fallacious in assuming all citizens were vindictive enough to demand unfairness for all. To paraphrase, he argued, “I don’t want a boot on your neck, just because one’s on mine.”