Park? Plaza? Revenue generating building? City Council approved a community visioning process for city-owned lots on Haywood Street and Page Avenue. All options will be on the table. Photo by Virginia Daffron

Council approves planning process for Haywood Street sites; will demo former Sister Cities building

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.

Asheville City Hall. Photo by Virginia Daffron

City Council to talk housing: affordable housing loans, residentia­l density

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.

City Council votes on a community visioning process as next step on Haywood Street parcels. Photo by Virginia Daffron

What’s next for Haywood Street site?

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.

South-bound traffic on Sweeten Creek Road at 3 p.m. on a Wednesday. Photo provided by South Asheville Resident & Business Community Organization (SARBCO)

City Council to consider Ban the Box; apartments at former Plasticorp site

On Tuesday, Jan. 26, City Council will take up the Ban the Box initiative for city hiring, potentially removing questions about an applicant’s past criminal history from the initial application form for certain positions. Council also will hear public comment on matters including reallocation of unused affordable housing development grant funds, an airport hotel and a controversial apartment complex proposed for Mills Gap Road.

Street level plan for proposed redevelopment of One West Pack Square. Image from McKibbon Hotel Group

Council to consider BB&T renovation­, Lee Walker Heights resolution

On Tues., January 12, City Council will turn its attention to matters including naming the second Monday in October “Indigenous People’s Day,” voting on the redevelopment of the former BB&T building as a luxury hotel and considering a resolution declaring the redevelopment of the Lee Walker Heights public housing community a “redevelopment project.”

Shiloh AME Zion Church, built in 1926 to replace an earlier wooden structure moved to the site from  land purchased by George Vanderbilt for his estate. Photo by Virginia Daffron

At home in Shiloh: Venerable community fights encroachme­nt

As development pressure increases all over Asheville, the historic African-American enclave of Shiloh remains vigilant about protecting its residential character. One recent showdown over zoning demonstrated that Shiloh’s community plan, developed by neighborhood leaders and ratified by City Council in 2010, is an effective tool for fighting commercial encroachment into residential areas.