Here’s how to join a city board or commission

Photo by @avltoday

They say it takes a village to raise a child, but how many members of the community does it take to make a city prosper? (We know there’s a “how many Ashevillians does it take to change a lightbulb” joke here). From deciding on the art on our public streets to the expansion of greenways, Ashevillians like us are integral to creating our city. How? On 30 city boards + commissions focused on transportation, arts, sustainability, recreation, and more. (A.k.a giving citizens a literal voice in their local government). 

We’ve been inspired lately by all the engaged Ashevillians coming together to create lasting, meaningful change, so we thought it was a great time to remind you how to get involved in local government through one of our advisory boards. Plus, meet a few others that are integral to how things get done here in the 828.

Who’s eligible? 👋Residents of the City of Asheville (some County appointed seats are available as well). 

How much time? Time commitment varies, but most commissions meet monthly or bi-monthly. Note: Many boards are not meeting or are meeting virtually due to COVID-19, but applications are still open. Generally, a term is held for three years.

How can I apply? 💻 Submit applications online here (or visit the city clerk’s office and request an application). You can specify the board or commission you’re interested in, or when vacancies occur, City Council will review the applicants on file already. Once you apply, your application will stay live for a year

Are there any openings? Yup, nine, including on the brand new Vance Monument Joint City/County Task Force, the Citizens-Police Advisory Committee, the Greenway Committee, and the Transit Committee. See them all here. 

Check out these committees + see what Asheville’s Boards and Commissions are all about. 

🔎 Vance Monument Joint City/County Task Force

Currently accepting applications

Twelve members; three-month meeting period. This new task force will gather citizen input, recommend removal or repurposing of the Vance Monument, and identify and recommend African Americans to honor the local history of Asheville + Buncombe County. The task force will meet for approximately three months beginning in August.

Want to join? The application period closes today at 5 p.m.; apply here. For more info, contact Kimberlee Archie, director for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

🌳 Greenway Committee

Currently accepting applications

At least seven members (up to 11); three-year term. Advises the Multimodal Transportation Commission + City staff on the implementation of a system of greenways in Asheville. Educates and engages the public and advocates for funding.

Meetings are public: When they resume, monthly every first Thurs. at 3:30 p.m. in the Police/Fire Training Room (4th floor of the Municipal Building, 100 Court Plaza). For more info or to apply, contact Lucy Crown.

🎨  Public Art & Cultural Commission

Nine members; three-year term. Facilitates art in public buildings + spaces. Advancing Asheville as an “arts destination.” Approves site + content for public art. Develops procedure for selecting art/artists + handles public input. Also: Revisits Public Art Policy every five years and amends as needed. 

Meetings are public: When they resume, monthly every fourth Thurs. at 5 p.m. in the Asheville Area Arts Council (409 Executive Park). Chair: Katie Cornell. For more info, contact Stephanie Monson Dahl.

🌿 Sustainability Advisory Committee 

Nine members; three-year term. Creates + upkeeps policies that support sustainable energy, waste reduction, land use planning + more. 

Meetings are public: When they resume, monthly every third Wed. at 3:30 p.m. in the first floor conference room in City Hall. The commission chair is Keith McDade

🏠  Affordable Housing Advisory Committee

Eleven current members; three-year term 

Works with City leaders to provide affordable housing + implements the Affordable Housing Plan (and updates as needed). Works with housing developers to recommend housing priorities to City Council. 

Meetings are public: When they resume, first Thurs. of every month at 9:30 a.m. in the 6th floor training room in City Hall. The committee chair is Sage Turner

🏞️  Asheville Area Riverfront Redevelopment Commission 

Fourteen members; two appointed by county, five appointed by city, two appointed by RiverLink, two appointed by Council of Independent Business Owners, one appointed by Town of Woodfin alderman; three-year term

Recommends policy for development + sustainability of French Broad riverfront + managing public resources, assists in getting investments for waterfront projects from businesses and works with stakeholders (property owners, businesses, nonprofits, and more)

Meetings are public: When they resume, first Mon. every other month at 4 p.m. at The Wedge at Foundation Studios (5 Foundy St.). The commission chair is Carleton Collins

🌎  Tourism Development Authority

Eleven members; five appointed by City Council, four appointed by county, one appointed by the Chamber of Commerce, one member of City Council + one member of the Buncombe County Commissioners; six members represent accommodations who collect occupancy tax and three are from non-lodging, tourism-related businesses; three-year term 

Enhance the economic vitality of Buncombe County by attracting tourism; provide professional expertise on the effective use of the occupancy tax; oversee Explore Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau to execute promotional programs; manage the Tourism Product Development Fund (which provides grants to community projects).

Meetings are public: Fourth or last Wednesday of each month at 9 a.m. the Explore Asheville Convention & Visitors Bureau (currently being held on GoToWebinar). For more info, email the BCTDA

📖  African American Heritage Commission 

Nine members; three appointed by city, three appointed by county + three appointed by the other appointed members. 

This commission is responsible for promoting the preservation of African American arts, history + culture.

Meetings are public: Second Thursday of each month at 11:30 a.m. in the first floor conference room of City Hall (currently being held virtually). The commission chair is Lynn Smith