Asheville UDO “book of interpretations”

For almost 10 years, Asheville Planning and Development staff have been compiling a “book of interpretations” — a collection of memos, letters and e-mails containing discussions on how to apply the city’s Unified Development Ordinance. At more than 170 pages, the book is used as a guide for special cases where the UDO may not be clear enough or even contain contradictions. Here are a few documents from the book that show the complexities faced by the planning staff.

1) Sept. 8, 2006: This memo illustrates the complexity and contradictions that are found when interpreting the UDO, as a staffer admits to “maybe serious errors” and says going back to make corrections could result in a “huge” impact. Click here to download a PDF of the document.

2) Dec. 3, 1999: This memo, inquiring if children’s playhouses should be regulated, includes a small missive from then-planner Gerald Green on a “special place” for people who don’t like kids and dogs. Click here to download a PDF of the document.

3) Jan. 7, 2003: Crematories, according to then-Planning Director Scott, are accessory uses for a funeral home. In this memo, staff refers directly to the interpretation book. Click here to download a PDF of the document.

4) Oct. 4, 2004: Planning staff find out after the fact that property sold by City Council member Brownie Newman to McKern Contracting did not conform to a 50-foot width rule. Development Services Director Joe Heard admits that “there’s no way for us to go back and force multiple owners to correct the situation.” Click here to download a PDF of the document.

5) June 26, 2007: This discussion, vie e-mail, about short-term rentals in the planned Zona Lofts development, ends with a note that such decisions are sometimes made by the developer or homeowners’ association. Click here to download a PDF of the document.

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