FUTURE VISION: At the city planning department’s offices, Planning Director Todd Okolichany reviews documents with staff. Planner Stacy Merten, left of Okolichany, is the staff lead for the comprehensive plan update project. Photo by Virginia Daffron

The road ahead: Asheville launches comprehens­ive planning process

Asheville’s last comprehensive city plan was completed in 2003. Since then, the city has gained 16,000 residents and embarked on a wide range of revitalization, infrastructure and multimodal transportation projects. Now it’s time to begin a new planning process that will span a year and a half and involve a broad cross-section of the city’s residents.

Asheville City Hall and the historic Buncombe County Courthouse in May 2016. Photo by Virginia Daffron

Homestay vote looms large for May 17 meeting of City Council

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.

A landmark corner distinguishes the main entry into the Phase 1 development from Biltmore Avenue. Image: David Baker Architects

City Council commits $4.2 million to redevelopm­ent of Lee Walker Heights

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.

Seal_of_Asheville,_North_Carolina

Asheville City Council poised to consider HB2 response on April 12

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.