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A GoFundMe page started to help a neighbor of the controversial Trestle Crossing project pay for an attorney had raised $2,750 toward its $5,000 goal as of mid-day Nov. 15.

Charlotte McRanie of Black Mountain started the fund Nov. 11 to help John Richardson, owner of the Black Mountain Ale House, pay for legal representation to represent him during the Nov. 16 Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting, held at 6 p.m. in Town Hall. A neighbor of the proposed Trestle Crossing project, Richardson hopes to convince the zoning adjustment board not to overturn anAug. 16 decision by the town’s Historic Preservation Commission that prevents Joe Cordell, a part-time town resident, from developing Trestle Crossing the way he has proposed.

At the Historic Preservation Commission's Oct. 4 meeting, Richardson read a letter from his attorney Bob Oast stating that he - Richardson - was “clearly an interested party” in relation to the Trestle Crossing project. The letter urged the commission to not rehear the matter because the commission on Sept. 20 adopted minutes from the Aug. 16 meeting in which the commission denied the certificate of appropriateness that would have made Cordell's proposed project possible. Adoption of minutes in effect renders an action closed.

In the same meeting in September, attorney Michael Begley, representing Cordell, asked Richardson’s wife, Shanda Richardson, to recuse herself from the matter because of the impact Trestle Crossing would likely have on her husband’s business and real estate interests. The meeting was recessed for two weeks to allow Shanda Richardson, who had voted against the project, to consult town attorney Ron Sneed.

On Oct. 4, Shanda Richardson announced that she would recuse herself from the Trestle Crossing matter.

Citing its height and other reasons, the Historic Preservation Commission on Aug. 16 denied Cordell’s plans to create a three-story mixed-use building on the Broadway Avenue property that currently houses Dobra Tea and the former Ginko Tree Gallery. The commission also rejected Cordell’s proposal to build an addition behind the former gallery to house a kitchen that would serve the restaurant he plans to make out of the gallery. The historic preservation commission said the addition did not comply with historic district guidelines.

“Considering that we only created (the GoFundMe page) Sunday night, we’re exceptionally pleased” with the money raised so far, McRanie said. “The point is, we are not opposed to Mr. Joe Cordell building. We merely want him to build in accordance with historic district guidelines.”

Cordell, through his Black Mountain spokesperson, declined comment.

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