In December last year, City Council directed city staff to analyze the potential impact of expanding the city’s homestay program for short-term rentals to separate living units known as ADUs. Six months later, much more information is available, but little if any consensus has emerged from the process. On May 17, Council will vote on a measure to allow homestays in ADUs, but the outcome of that vote is up in the air, meaning that another long night of testimony on the issue seems inevitable.
The march toward a city budget for the upcoming year continues with a financial update on the third quarter and a presentation of the proposed fiscal year 2016-2017 budget by Asheville CFO Barbara Whitehorn.
“Now the housing market is really booming and — surprise! — they want to do another reassessment.”
“Asheville should no longer tolerate our historic trees being mowed down like summer weeds.”
At its April 26 meeting, City Council approved a rezoning request and committed $4.2 million in city funds to allow the Lee Walker Heights redevelopment project to move forward. Council also approved a Memorandum of Understanding with Duke Energy which gives the city the option to purchase the former Matthews Ford property adjacent to Lee Walker Heights at any time over the next eight years.
From horse carriages to multi-million dollar capital projects, City Council will consider a wide range of issues at its April 26 regular meeting.
At its regular meeting on April 12, Asheville City Council passed a strongly-worded resolution calling for the repeal of House Bill 2. Citizens and Council members reflected on the impact of the law on many aspects of life in North Carolina, striking a chord of near-unanimity in wholehearted dissent.
A proposed Asheville resolution affirming the constitutional rights and equitable treatment of all in public accommodations — such as bathrooms — appears likely to spark extensive discussion on how Asheville will respond to House Bill 2 at Council’s meeting on April 12. Other agenda items include subdivision ordinances, the Beaucatcher Greenway and the city’s legislative agenda for the upcoming short session in Raleigh.
In addition to her new role as Vice Mayor, Asheville City Councilmember Gwen Wisler serves on a long list of important city boards and commissions, as well as civic organizations. Xpress talks with Wisler to find out what’s on her mind as she leads city projects from the budget to the update of the citywide comprehensive plan.
With her win in the District 1 Democratic primary, Jasmine Beach-Ferrara is slated to become the first openly LGBT Buncombe County Commissioner. To get there, she had strong competition from City Councilman Gordon Smith and from another civil rights activist, Isaac Coleman. Since no Republican filed to run for the District 1 seat, Beach-Ferrara is almost certain to take office in the fall after the General Election.
“Choosing to cut down mature trees and convert land into impermeable surfaces is an abuse of that trust —especially when obvious alternatives exist.”
Asheville City Council approved a public visioning process to solicit broad community input on the future use of city-owned property across from the U.S. Cellular Center and the Basilica of St. Lawrence. Council also voted to demolish a city-owned building adjacent to the area at 33-35 Page Avenue. The building was the headquarters of the Asheville Sister Cities organization before the structure was condemned in November last year.
“Vote for Gordon if you think a commissioner should believe transparency and fiscal responsibility are necessities, if you think that land conservation and farmland preservation are important, and if business tax incentives should be focused on local businesses, not just large corporations.”
While the theme is familiar — what to do with city-owned property facing the Basilica of St. Lawrence and the U.S. Cellular Center? — the current proposal has a twist: let the whole community weigh in on the future of a beloved, yet contentious, space.
From tiny homes to multifamily development — if a zoning tool can address Asheville’s housing shortage by promoting more infill development in residential areas, Asheville’s City Council is all for it. City planning staff got the go-ahead to draft new zoning amendments to encourage and remove barriers to infill development.
On Tuesday, Feb. 23, City Council will consider strategies for housing the city’s growing population. Over $1 million in low-interest affordable housing loans will come to a Council vote, and city planning director Todd Okolichany will present a proposal for updating existing ordinances to encourage higher density infill development in residential areas.
“The city is not only failing to ‘prioritize’ edibles but is actively undoing the selfless work undertaken by thoughtful citizens.”
One clear winner from the 2015 City Council elections: local hopes for a public space for the city-owned lots facing the Basilica of St. Lawrence and the U.S. Cellular Center. Not so clear: exactly what kind of space Asheville needs and who will pay for it. The city’s Planning and Economic Development committee took up the hot potato issue to try to figure out how to move forward.