Lack of housing and parking topped the list of concerns for local businesses in the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce's annual 'Business Walk'. The survey of more than 300 local businesses focused on whether those businesses saw growth in 2017, and what they felt needed to change to improve the business environment in the area. Housing topped the list of areas where businesses wanted to see change, with 40% of respondents including it in their response. Parking was next at 36%, followed by availability of qualified personnel (26%), easier and expedited permitting (21%), and public transportation (16%).
Parking did top another list in the survey - the most pressing infrastructure need in the area according to businesses. It was followed by sidewalks, better paved streets, and stormwater/sewer drainage. The top response to this question though did vary by neighborhood. Businesses in Biltmore Village and East Asheville listed stormwater/sewer drainage as their top infrastructure need, while North Buncombe had better paved streets as number one. The Charlotte Street area put pedestrian crosswalks and sidewalks as its most pressing need.
In a press release, the chamber said it will "use the answers to inform economic development and public policy efforts aimed at building community through business. For example, a previous Business Walk survey revealed that graffiti was a major concern for businesses. The Chamber worked with local and state officials to address the concern. Graffiti did not register in the 2018 survey."