South Asheville vacation rental rallies support, gets unanimous approval

The Buncombe County Board of Adjustment unanimously approved a short-term vacation rental development during its meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 8. It will be located at 28 Merrills Cove Road.
The Buncombe County Board of Adjustment unanimously approved a short-term vacation rental development during its meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 8. It will be located at 28 Merrills Cove Road. Photo by Dan Hesse

A proposed vacation development that previously garnered widespread opposition had a number of people speak in its favor before being unanimously approved during the Buncombe County Board of Adjustment’s meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 8.

The proposed vacation development would sit on nearly 23 acres of land in South Asheville off Merrills Cove Road. Plans call for ten cabin-style rentals and an office. An existing home will serve as a residence for developer Peter Anuar and his family. The project has received erosion and stormwater runoff permits.

Anuar said he communicated his plans with all surrounding neighbors and noted he has support from adjacent property owners to the south, east and west of the property. As someone with a landscaping background, he said, he’s committed to keeping tree removal at a minimum.

The project originally appeared before the board in October. Before the zoning request was declared ineligible for consideration at that meeting for procedural reasons, a number of nearby residents spoke against it, citing concerns about traffic, loss of trees, parties and other issues.

However, on this go-round, the project drew praise from nearby neighbors who said they had spoken with Anuar about his plans and were satisfied with the information they received.

Debbie and Ryan Waylon own property in the immediate area. The couple had asked an attorney to convey their concerns at the October meeting. “[Anuar] and his family have been responsive. We believe they will be responsible and we support the project,” said Ryan. After seeing the development’s overall footprint, the Waylons said, they feel it’s better than a potential alternative. “We think it’s lower-density than it has to be. The cabins seem upscale and nice, and he’s dedicated to not knocking down every tree in sight,” said Debbie.

In all, five people spoke in favor of the vacation rental development, saying it would help property values and would ultimately be in character with the surrounding neighborhood.

Two neighbors voiced opposition. Merrills Cove Road resident Suzane Douglas, said, “To hear that a development of that density would enhance real estate property values is a surprise to me. It’s very rural, very quiet. That’s what people are looking for.”

Ultimately the board gave the project unanimous approval and even commented on the professionalism of Anuar’s presentation.

The conditional use permit is good for five years. Anuar said he’s going to start off building two rental cabins to test the market and, depending on the response, build the remainder of the 10 allowed.

You can view the project’s footprint here.

The board also unanimously approved the following three variances:

The Board of Adjustment is slated to meet again on March 8.

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About Dan Hesse
I grew up outside of Atlanta and moved to WNC in 2001 to attend Montreat College. After college, I worked at NewsRadio 570 WWNC as an anchor/reporter and covered Asheville City Council and the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners starting in 2004. During that time I also completed WCU's Master of Public Administration program. You can reach me at dhesse@mountainx.com.

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