Here's a list of highlights from the Feb. 21 meeting of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners. Xpress will have a full report in the Feb. 29 issue.
• The board voted 4-0 (Vice Chair Bill Stanley was absent) to deny a rezoning request that would've allowed mobile homes on a 4.45 acre parcel along Bee Ridge Road in Reynolds. The Buncombe County Planning Department recommended approving the request, noting that an adjacent area already contains mobile homes. However, the Planning Board voted 4–3 to recommend denying the request, arguing the change wouldn't be consistent with the county's land use plan or in the interest of adjacent neighbors. During a public hearing on the matter, the majority of speakers urged the commissioners to deny the request, saying allowing more mobile homes in the area would hurt property values and create other problems for the neighborhood.
• Commissioners voted unanimously to allocate $50,000 in county taxpayer money to help fund the Go Kitchen–Ready Training Program, which aims to prepare local residents for work in the food–service industry.
• During the meeting's public comment session, Dr. Milton Byrd announced that he's going to try to unseat incumbent Board Chair David Gantt by running against him in the May 8 Democratic primary. Byrd previously served on the Fletcher Town Council. Over the last year, he has frequently criticized Buncombe commissioners for the way they handled county funding of the WNC Media Center, which closed it's doors in May. After the meeting, the retired Barnardsville resident told Xpress that although he has "a lot of respect for Gantt," he feels "the public trust has been fractured." Byrd said a top priority of his as board chair would be better communication with residents to rebuild that trust. "People are scared of politics. … Gantt isn't in a position to bring balance like I can," he said. "I'm a win–win leader. I don't play dirty politics."