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Asheville City Council ratifies water agreement

The Asheville City Council debated a revised water agreement on Tuesday, April 22. The Asheville City Council debated a revised water agreement on Tuesday, April 22.

Commissioner Grady Hawkins praised the agreement.

"I think finally we may have realized some benefit in 137 acres that's set over there infested with coyotes for the last hundred years to get some productive use out of the land and hopefully hail a new cooperation between the government of Asheville and Buncombe County so that the folks in both counties can benefit," he said.

Wyatt, Edney and state Rep. Chuck McGrady said Manheimer was receptive to a revised agreement.
"She's put a new face on the city over there and opened some doors that those in the past closed," Edney said.
Andrew Riddle, one of Edney's opponents in the District 1 Republican primary, dismissed the announcement as "a slick political move" by Edney to try to shed the 1995 controversy.
"This is Henderson County property. The fact is we should never have been in that position," Riddle said. "I think it is very convenient for him to deal with this issue at the 11th hour. All this stuff about a shooting range — every bit of that is hypothetical. The only thing that's for certain is the property is going to be listed for sale and the proceeds are going to be split. Jack Cecil of Biltmore Farms is more than likely going to be the buyer. He's been waiting for this property to be for sale for years."

"I think it's a very slick political move by Mike Edney to pull something out of his hat now that this is an issue," Riddle added. "It's still not over and it's still a sore spot with the voters of Henderson County."

The deal is not done yet.

The General Assembly must also bless the interlocal agreeement.

McGrady is on board to help with that. He is one of many officials who has tried to resolve the long-running dispute over the agreement extend back to his time as a county commissioner, from 2004 to 2010, when he won a House seat.
"Commissioner Young and I spent a number of meetings at the airport with the city of Asheville and that didn't lead anywhere," McGrady told commissioners last week. With the election of Manheimer as Asheville mayor, "We had a new opportunity to start in a different place. They've had their problems with the General Assembly and seem more willing to work in a cooperative fashion as opposed to tangle with legislators on a range of issues."
McGrady said he saw no hurdles to shepherding a local bill through the Legislature that would allow the city and Henderson County to consummate the agreement.
"I have spoken to Sen. (Tom) Apodaca," he said. "I have spoken to all but one of the House members" from Henderson and Buncombe counties and "I think we can do what we need to do to facilitate this. I think the idea of working in a cooperative fashion with one or more of these counties and municipalities is a very positive thing. I'm actually relieved that one issue is checked off."

Manheimer said in an interview last week that the reversion clause, forcing Henderson County to give up the 137-acre Bent Creek property, was problematic.

"It was clear to me that it was going to be challenged," she said. "It invited and has invited negativity (between Asheville and Henderson County) over the years. ... For me it was really a question of, if you don't resolve it, what are you looking at?"





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