Last November’s election in Woodfin, Asheville’s sleepy northern neighbor, came at a time of major transformation. The town’s population has more than doubled since 2000 — it is now home to 8,000 people — and Woodfin is attracting keen interest from developers.
The proposed Bluffs at Riverbend, a large mixed-use development on pristine forest west of the French Broad River, rallied residents. Voters turned out in record numbers, tossing out three incumbents who had governed the town for a decade or more.
Their three replacements, Jim McAllister, Eric Edgerton, and Hazel Thornton, were backed by the Sierra Club and promised to protect the town’s green spaces and steep slopes with responsible, environmentally sensitive development. Two others with similar positions, Judy Butler and Betsy Ervin, were appointed to fill vacancies, giving the Town Commission a solid majority and shifting power from longtime Woodfin residents to a group of mostly retired professionals who are relatively recent arrivals in town.