At its meeting tonight, Feb. 8, Asheville City Council will consider amendments to the Unified Development Ordinance to prohibit developers from bringing projects back with slight modification after Council’s turned them down. The move is partially related to the Caledonia Apartments project.
Council turned down the Caledonia project last September, citing a number of concerns about traffic and location. However, developer Frank Howington then revised the plans, separating the two apartment buildings by 500 feet (the minimum allowed for separate projects under city rules) and re-sudmitting them as separate projects, each small enough to avoid going back before Council.
Howington’s plan met the approval of the city’s Technical Review Committee yesterday — though the board attached a list of 100 conditions that must be met first — while the board noted that some neighborhood concerns were out of their purview. The TRC only considers if a project meets the letter of the law.
The first ordinance change before Council reads that “No application for approval of a conditional use development project (conditional use, site plan, project plan) under any approval process… shall be filed with or accepted by the planning and development department if that project which is identical or substantially similar to a conditional use or conditional zoning application which has been denied by the city council within one year of the final action by the city council denying the request.” A second amendment would raise the separation requirements for projects to be considered as separate developments from 500 ft. to 1,500 ft.
The city’s own Planning and Zoning commission opposed the first amendment 4-0, and split 2-2 over the second, citing concerns that the move is too closely tied to the Caledonia project.
Council will also consider discounted transit tickets and passes for the homeless, preview plans for the Pack Square Park visitor’s center and receive a report on water rate changes. The meeting begins at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 8, on the second floor of city hall.