At the Nov. 23 Asheville City Council meeting, the first major changes to come out of the Downtown Master Plan — new design standards that will result in less projects going directly before Council — come up for a vote.
The new rules include a variety of standards for building design, height, setbacks and also raise the minimum size for a project going before Council for a vote from 100,000 sq. ft. to 175,000 sq. ft. Projects under that size would have to meet approval from the relevant appointed city committees. The provision has aroused some controversy among those who say it benefits developers and harms the democratic process. The neighborhood advocacy group People Advocating Real Conservancy has announced its opposition, asserting that “if passed, residents wanting a meaningful voice in development decisions will suffer a major defeat.” The changes are intended to make the development process more straightforward and reduce a perception of arbitrary outcomes.
Council was scheduled to consider a cellphone tower in the Beaverdam area, but ended up retaining its ban on such towers in residential areas at its last meeting. Another item, the Horizons Project on Merrimon, has been withdrawn by the applicant.
However, Council will still consider an Airport Road rezoning, receive a quarterly financial report and may use $605,000 from the parking service fund to purchase a lot on Eagle Street.
Asheville City Council meets at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 23, on the second floor of City Hall.
— David Forbes, senior news reporter
See below for live Twitter-based dispatches from the meeting.
You can follow Forbes on Twitter @DavidForbes.