Through their elected leaders, Asheville voters will now have more say-so over development projects downtown and new hotels citywide.
After more than a year of public input and review, proposed development changes that would bring more downtown projects before Council for review will go to a vote on Tuesday, Feb. 14. The new rules also include a provision for Council to review all hotel projects with 21 rooms or more anywhere in the city.
“Many people believe, as I do, that the majority of City Council members have been influenced by the hotel lobby — the elephant standing in the city’s living room.”
New year, new hotel. Asheville City Council will review its first zoning request for 2017, and it’s a big one: the proposed 185-room Embassy Suites hotel on Haywood Street, across the street from the Hotel Indigo and the Hyatt Place and next door to the Carolina Apartments.
“Let’s preserve Asheville before we destroy it.”
“I would at least like to see the faces of this mysterious organization known as ‘staff,’ who for all intents and purposes have become the de facto heads of government in Asheville when it comes to development.”
“While there is no doubt that Asheville is in need of more lodging for the increasing number of tourists, the concern is, ‘How is it going to be accomplished?'”
Asheville currently has about 7,200 hotel and motel rooms that are subject to the 4 percent occupancy tax levied on room sales. And if all of those current hotel projects came to fruition (which is by no means guaranteed), it would add at least 1,115 more, boosting the total number by 15 to 20 percent.
The McKibbon Hotel Group will not develop city-owned property across from the Basilica of St. Lawrence. According to an announcement from the company, a lawsuit by other downtown hoteliers dragged on long enough that the project was no longer viable.
“Oh, another hotel” isn’t an uncommon refrain heard around Asheville. But for every occupant of those hotels, there’s a tax — one that brings in $7 million a year — and goes not to any government, but to the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority.