Staples draws protest
A group protested Asheville�s application of its zoning rules Tuesday outside the Merrimon Avenue Staples office supply store.
One protester dressed as a chicken in reference to the city�s recent ruling that the man who has regularly dressed as a chicken at Picnics restaurant, also on Merrimon, is an illegal sign and a traffic hazard.
But neighborhood residents and others have been more focused on the Staples store. Complaints about its imposing wall on the street and some other features began even before it opened last December.
Critics say the sign is too large and the broad brick-faced sides of the building are set too close to the street, presenting a possible traffic hazard, as well as appearance problems.
City staff made a conference call to Staples executives Sept. 19 and discussed options for addressing community concerns. Staples representatives said they wanted to discuss internally how they might address the concerns and asked for about a month to develop some concepts for consideration
Potato Head brings up concerns that don't matter a hoot to the people interested in the stock. I am sure the local government issued permits for construction and the sign. End of story.
Pot Head should ask whether Staples is a tenant (which is usually the case). If so, the owner of the property, not Staples, would have to make changes in the building.
If a blank brick wall offends the people, ask Staples (or the landlord) for permission to paint a nice mural on the wall. Perhaps Gulley Jimson is available.
If the store closes, the locals will wail about having to pay too much for office supplies.
Meanwhile, the chicken is still a major problem.
Fight over Staples grows
ASHEVILLE � Two zoning debates that some residents have said came from the city using a light hand with developers are moving toward conclusions � one as a compromise and one as a possible legal battle.
The City Council said Tuesday it will go to the city attorney about Staples Inc.�s refusal to make two of three changes to its Merrimon Avenue office supply store.
Officials have taken criticism for allowing the building�s towering brick fa�ade and a large store sign and have since been trying to get design changes.
Council members reacted angrily to a letter from Staples in which the company said it would make landscaping changes to the building but would not reduce its sign size or make changes for pedestrians. �Some things are doable, some things are not doable, but a sign can change,� Councilman Brownie Newman said.
A Jan. 8 letter from Staples Real Estate Vice President Ted Frumkin said changing the sign would cost too much.
�Therefore, we do not plan to change a sign that was approved by the city, and according to our local lawyer, is in compliance with all Asheville codes.�
Across Merrimon, talks about changing the loading dock configuration for Greenlife Grocery � a sore point for neighbors complaining of truck traffic � will go back for more consideration.
The city might spend $30,000 to make residential Maxwell Street inaccessible to tractor-trailers or the store could spend about $100,000 for changes, such as rerouting the Maxwell entrance and building fences and plant buffers. The plan could also be a combination of the two.
City to take up zoning issues
published January 16, 2007 12:15 am
Asheville � The Asheville City Council today will take up two thorny zoning issues, including one that has dominated talk over whether the city has been too easy on developers.
The city in responding to complaints has been trying to win concessions from Staples office supply store that would change the look of its business on Merrimon Avenue near Interstate 240.
City planners allowed the building�s towering brick fa�ade and a large store sign that some say violates zoning rules.
Officials want the company to add landscaping that would make the building look less like a brick wall, reduce the size of the store sign and make it easier for pedestrians to get to the store.
Council members will get an update on negotiations, but are not scheduled to take action.
Staples officials haven�t responded to a request from Mayor Terry Bellamy for changes that would include making the building a better fit with nearby businesses.
The company had said it would reply by the end of the year, Bellamy said.
Asheville Community Relations Director Lauren Bradley said she got a letter Jan. 2 saying Staples was developing an answer.
Company representatives could not be reached Monday.
The council shied away from resident demands to issue a zoning violation notice.
But Bellamy wrote to Staples after a review by UNC Chapel Hill zoning law professor David Owens showed some problems, including a sign that might violate size restrictions and zoning bonuses for pedestrian street access when there is none.