Kris Wallace and Benjamin Rose play penny whistles in protest of the BID. Wallace wears a sign that reads: “Downtown NOT FOR HIGHEST BIDder.” Wallace said the implementation of the proposal would be “a threat to civil liberties.” Katie Bailey/Carolina Public Press

Asheville City Council met Tuesday night to hold a public hearing about a proposal to establish a downtown service district. The proposed Business Improvement District plan brought enough residents to fill the entire council chamber and two other overflow rooms. Proponents and opponents voiced their approval and concerns over what the plan could mean for the future of downtown.

After more than 30 people spoke at the hearing, council voted 6-0 to delay action on the plan until its Sept. 25 meeting. While residents listened inside for hours, protesters occupied the front steps and square of city hall to demonstrate their opposition to the BID and its potentially harmful effects.

Here’s a view of photo gallery from last night’s hearing.

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Katie Bailey is a contributing reporter and photographer with Carolina Public Press. Contact her at

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