Council agreed on a series of development ordinance changes, the most talked-about being allowances for fresh food markets in residential neighborhoods. The rule allows such markets on institutional properties such as churches, schools or community centers. The changes passed unanimously, and proponents stated that they would open up the opportunity for healthier food to new areas.
Two affordable housing developments also got loans from the city's affordable housing trust fund. An 18-unit cottage-style development in West Asheville got $200,000, while renovations to the Glen Rock Hotel in the River Arts District, a project that will create 22 affordable housing units, got $220,000.
In other actions, Council:
• Heard a report on a proposal by the Basilica of St. Lawrence to buy downtown property owned by the city for $2 million. City Manager Gary Jackson cautioned Council members to take into account the property's value and give staff time to evaluate the deal.
• Directed city staff to flesh out a proposal on a permitting process for Occupy Asheville campers. The proposal will return at the Jan. 24 meeting.
• Unanimously approved adding parts of South Asheville to areas eligible for land-use development incentives for projects that meet the city's smart growth goals such as density and proximity to transit lines.
• Unanimously endorsed renaming the Smoky Park Bridges after Asheville Fire Department Capt. Jeff Bowen, who perished fighting an arson at Mission Hospitals.
Photo by Bill Rhodes