Following Duke Energy and the City of Asheville’s cancellation of the community meetings to review Duke’s substation plans, the Friends of Lexington Avenue (FOLA) is calling for the City and Duke to hold public meetings on the proposed substation project.
FOLA also asks that the City and Duke be held accountable to deliver both an environmental impact study and economic impact study of the proposed substation project.
In the time since the City of Asheville and Duke Energy signed a Memorandum of Understanding in October 2021, allowing Duke to study, survey and investigate the replacement of the substation at 72 Rankin Avenue, there has been no community forum scheduled where Asheville citizens could meet with the City of Asheville and Duke Energy to have a collaborative discussion on the project.
The City and Duke Energy said in their joint press release that “Suspending this phase of engagement allows for further consideration to address options and community input. Once options have been further assessed, Duke Energy will evaluate additional opportunities for public input.”
“Before Duke Energy goes back to the drawing board to evaluate additional opportunities for our downtown community, it is crucial to have collaborative and productive discussions between Duke, the City and the citizens of Asheville. This has happened on past substation projects. There’s been a lack of transparency throughout the process to date and no effort on behalf of the City or Duke to engage the community through an open public forum,” said Scott Fowler, FOLA spokesperson. “It’s also important for the City and Duke to show the environmental and economic impacts of these plans for public view and assessment as there is a lot at stake.”
FOLA is leading efforts to tell the City of Asheville and Duke Energy no land swap for a substation move as Duke has said they can rebuild on the current site to meet future energy demand. FOLA’s petition to stop the land swap and substation move is fast approaching 5,000 signatures and is growing daily.
The group’s efforts are working to protect Lexington Avenue, known as one of Asheville’s most historic and vibrant retail and residential communities, which also holds the designation as a Great Places in America: Streets by the American Planning Association. More than 60 small businesses, over 1000 residents and a vital and unique urban forest canopy all face risk with a substation move that would impact 10 blocks. More information is available at www.FriendsofLexingtonAvenue.com.
Written by Friends of Lexington Avenue.