Asheville eases off crackdown on bookstore’s needle exchange
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina city has backed off its crackdown on a needle exchange run out of a bookstore.
The Asheville Citizen-Times reports Asheville officials announced Friday they rescinded notices of violation against Firestorm Books & Coffee and The Steady Collective.
The city cited the program run by the groups for violating zoning rules in August. The said the bookstore was similar to a “shelter,” but the groups argued the program is an accessory use of the space, which is 96.5 percent of the time a community space. They appealed in September, calling the scrutiny unconstitutional and discriminatory.
Asheville spokeswoman Ashley Traynum-Carson says the operators have agreed to formalize their commitment to have an on-site medical professional. The needle exchange is now zoned as a medical clinic, instead of a shelter.
Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, http://www.citizen-times.com