• Oakley Neighborhood Association

Oakley Neighborhood Association Meeting Minutes: July 13, 2021

Updated: Oct 20, 2021

Oakley Neighborhood Association - meeting minutes

Tuesday July 13, 2021 6-7pm / Highland Brewing / oakleyneighborhoodassociation@gmail.com

Introductions - first timers, leadership team.


The leadership team of 6 people was voted in on a temporary basis of one year, to lead the neighborhood association, get by-laws established, get our non-profit status, and start to establish ourselves with the city. The team then reached a consensus on which offices each of them would hold for the year.


Results were:

  • Bess McDavid- Leader

  • Michael Stratton- Co-leader

  • Betsy Nesbitt- Secretary (until she recruits someone to take her place)

  • Rich Lee- Treasurer

  • Natalie Romanello- Media leader

  • Allison Kiehl- At-large

Since the last meeting (Bess)

  • Leadership team members:

  • met with Brenda Mills

  • met with leader at Shiloh NA

  • attended June 15 County Commissioner meeting to speak on Oakley Library

  • opened a bank account for the NA

  • started getting us registered as a 501c3

Committee Updates

  • Garden (Michael) 461 Fairview Road - we are right in the middle of harvest season. The most recent harvest garnered 80lbs (approximately 25% of what was harvested all season last year).

  • All produce donated to Bounty & Soul

  • We have partnered with B&S to make videos on how to cook what comes from the garden - Aug 14. Looking for culinary volunteers to cook on camera

  • Library (Elisabeth and Cheryl)

  • The proposal we heard about at the last meeting was paused, largely because of the work Oakley and Shiloh did to contact the commissioners and write letters and email.

  • Listening sessions have been scheduled throughout the county (dates below)

  • Not a Q&A. The Library Board will expect attendees to be familiar with the Library Facilities Master Plan, and will be asking community members two main questions:

  • What do you think of the Master Plan?

  • What do you think of the facilities?

  • Advertise - post cards, social media, other media outlets?

  • Dreaming session to prepare cohesive messaging/talking points to be scheduled with library committee team members

  • If you don’t have a library card, get one! Check out materials! Use our branch, show the Board and County how valuable our neighborhood branch is.

  • Use Your Voice, Weigh In on the Future of Buncombe County Public Libraries

  • Neighborhood Watch (Ricky)

  • Reports of recent thefts, tips on how to reduce thefts

  • Trees (Alison via Bess)

  • Not yet fully formed - learn stories of the oldest trees, partner with Arboretum or similar agency

  • Events (Bess)

  • Partnership to arrange use of Oakley Park Pavillion and Rec Center at no cost

  • Media (Natalie via Michael)

  • Interim business cards to spread the word about the Oakley NA

  • Transportation (Michael)

  • The Transportation Committee (Bess McDavid, Elizabeth Likis, Cristyn Olenick, Lyn Howard) met recently to discuss Oakley strengths/weaknesses regarding transportation systems and infrastructure: Topics discussed:

  • We’re a food desert, so improving transportation options is a top priority

  • City of AVL has plans for a greenway along Swannanoa River Road; We want safe connectivity to this new corridor as well open line of communication with the City (and other neighboring neighborhoods) as the project advances

  • It was agreed that Oakley has the potential to be safe, walkable, and more livable, but work needs to be done to get us there.

  • Ever increasing traffic volume & speed throughout Oakley pose challenges and safety concerns

  • Unsafe roadways and lack of protected bike lanes push cyclists onto narrow sidewalks where they compete with an increasing pedestrian traffic.

  • Would like to see engineered traffic calming solutions, such as speed humps, automated speed & red light cams, advisory shoulder zones, pedestrian hybrid beacons, additional crosswalks, pedestrian refuge islands, and volunteers who will drive neighborhood pace cars.

  • Would also like to see increased bus frequency and evaluation of bus stop safety... more people on the bus = less cars utilizing neighborhood roads= safer experience for pedestrians and cyclists

  • River Clean Up? (Bess)

  • Tentative plan to get a group together to clean up along Swannanoa River

Lucy Crown - Greenway Planner, City of Asheville

  • Swannanoa River Greenway Corridor Plan

  • Swan West (Biltmore Ave to Tunnel Rd); Swan East (Tunnel Rd to Azalea Rd) - corresponding road projects from DOT recently placed on hold (funding), maybe until 2029 (project could be expedited as Thompson St and Swannanoa River Road continue to be eroded by damaging storms that are made more frequent by climate change).

  • City is working with Asheville on Bikes to potentially organize a “Street Sweaks” project on Thompson St (From Glendale to Biltmore Ave) that would allow for an interim solution to make Thompson St more bike/pedestrian friendly until the greenway project is completed. (See possible solution on page 51 from Greenway Presentation )

  • Other possibilities

  • AVL Unpaved, natural surface trails - Cheddars (Bleachery) to River Ridge Apartments; Highland Brewing to Nature Center

  • Tactical Urbanism (like on Coxe Ave) on Thompson Rd

  • Swannanoa River Rd owned by state of NC; Thomson Rd owned by city of AVL

  • Why did DOT make a plan for Swannanoa River Road anyway?

  • Riverbanks are changing, stress on roads, more frequent flooding

  • Request/complain about road things (stop signs, crosswalks) on the Asheville App

  • AVL Bond Projects Dashboard https://dashboards.ashevillenc.gov/capital_projects

  • Meadow Rd from Biltmore Ave to Amboy Rd not part of this study, but is a DOT project.

  • Michael said there’s a paving project planned at the end of the paving season for this road, with bike lanes planned

Library Listening Sessions - 6:30-7:30pm unless otherwise noted


July 15 - Fairview Library

July 20 - Black Mountain Library

July 22 - Zoom

July 26 - West AVL Library (2:30-3:30pm)


August 5 - Broad River Community Center (Black Mountain)

August 10 - Oakley Community Center

August 12 - Pack Library (2:30-3:30pm)

August 16 - East AVL Library

August 18 - Enka-Candler Library

August 26 - Weaverville Library

August 31 - Leicester Library


September 2 - Jones Elementary (tentative date)

September 9 - Shiloh Community Center (tentative date)

September 14 - Big Ivy Community Center (12-1pm)

September 15 - Zoom (21-1pm)

September 20 - Woodfin Community Center (2-3pm) (tentative)

September 23 - Arden-Avery Creek Community Center

September 30 - Skyland-South Buncombe Library (11am-12pm)


October 6 - West Buncombe Elementary (4-5pm)

October 7 - Swannanoa Bee Tree Fire Department


Next meeting - Tuesday August 24, 6pm - Oakley Park Pavillion


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