Battle over Chestnut development reaches city board tonight

After months of delays, a proposed housing development on East Chestnut makes its way to the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission tonight. The plans for a 16-unit development have become a flashpoint about larger development concerns in Asheville. In this case the plans have drawn opposition from some neighborhood residents and preservationists who believe it’s too dense and out of character for the area, while supporters assert the need to alleviate the city’s housing crunch means such projects are necessary.

Xpress covered the project, the neighborhood reaction, the area’s history and the planning dilemmas involved back in May. Since then, the project has been delayed multiple times.

However, it doesn’t appear that the delays ended up in revisions that have satisfied the opposition. In a message yesterday, the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County said they remained against the project for several reasons.

“The Preservation Society is opposed to this drastic change primarily due to the inappropriate scale and massing within the Chestnut Hill National Register Historic District,” the statement reads. “PSABC is in favor of appropriately scaled in-fill development within historic neighborhoods as a means to increase density. However, the current proposal would result in an adverse affect on the streetscape with set-backs the depart from the traditional development pattern of the area and an increased density level in this fragile neighborhood.”

The PSABC is working with neighbors to file a protest petition. If successful, the project would need five votes on Asheville City Council to get approval.

The meeting begins at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 6 in the conference room on the first floor of City Hall.

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