Asheville City Council has a busy agenda for its Nov. 9 meeting, including a bevy of zoning decisions, updates on everything from the city’s carbon to economic stimulus spending, development policies, and considering (for the third time) new rules on cellphone towers.
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The city has five zoning or rezoning decisions to make, four establishing zoning in areas it annexed earlier this year and one changing the zoning of the proposed Enka Center area from single-family low density to commercial industrial district zoning.
Also, for the third time, Council will vote on rules governing the placement of cellphone towers in the city, including rules that would allow their placement, under certain conditions, in residential areas. Council had balked at the changes previously, twice sending them back for further review and modification. Federal and state law allow cities to set restrictions on the placement of cellphone towers, but require that the rules cannot be so restrictive as to seriously harm service. The company U.S. Cellular, which seeks to build a tower in the Beaverdam area, claims the city’s rules prevent them from getting adequate service to their customers.
Council will also reconsider new policies on development incentives, replacing the older, more limited policies with ones that would have a broader set, requiring some elements of affordability/workforce housing, green building and financial stability, but also adding “preferences” for mixed-used job creation, pedestrian improvements and other council goals. A project that meets those guidelines won’t necessarily get incentive grants (usually tax and fee waivers) but it can apply for them.
In a pre-meeting work session, Council will discuss possible changes to its Unified Development Ordinance in order to enact the proposals of the Downtown Master Plan.
Council meets on the second floor of City Hall at 5 p.m. The work session begins at 3:30 p.m.
— David Forbes, senior news reporter