Almost exactly one year after Asheville City Council approved a zoning request to allow the McKibbon Hotel Group to redevelop the former BB&T building as a hotel and condominiums, another big downtown hotel project is poised to come before Council.
At the body’s Jan. 10 meeting, Parks Hospitality Group of Raleigh will seek approval of its 185-room project at 192 Haywood St. on the former site of the Buncombe County Sheriff’s office. The proposed development also includes a 200-car parking structure.
The city’s Downtown Commission, Planning & Zoning Commission and Technical Review Committee have all reviewed the project. On Oct. 14, the Downtown Commission voted to recommend that Council deny the project. The Planning & Zoning Commission recommended approval at its Dec. 7 meeting, and also approved two variances for the project. City Council’s review will be conducted as a quasi-judicial proceeding, with those wishing to testify required to give their input under oath. Council must base its decision on whether the project meets seven legal standards.
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Council will vote on accepting a $90,000 grant from the Duke Energy Water Resources Fund to support a storm water management device on the French Broad River Greenway West Bank and design for a Restorative Landscape Plan for the River Arts District Transportation Project (RADTIP) area. A $700,000 roof repair contract for a city-owned building on Bingham Road, a $500,000 water infrastructure project serving large customer connections and an application for a $100,000 DWI Task Force grant are also included within the consent agenda.
Presentations and reports
Council will hear a report from the Housing Authority’s Family Self-Sufficiency Program. No further information on this report was included in Council’s meeting agenda.
The owner of a 4.8 acre parcel at 12 Loop Road close to the Asheville Airport has requested a voluntary annexation of the property into the city limits. The parcel is contiguous to property within the city of Asheville. According to a staff memo, “There is a commercial retail project proposed for this property which, if developed as currently proposed, would generate approximately $20,000-25,000 in city property tax based on comparable commercial properties in the city.”
Additionally, Council will hear public comment on rezoning 12 Loop Road and adjacent parcels to allow for the development of 80,000 square feet of commercial retail space and related parking. In a staff memo, Todd Okolichany, the city’s planning director, cites concerns about the proposed landscape plan. The city’s Planning & Zoning Commission recommended approval of the rezoning request on Nov. 2, contingent on the applicant’s adding more and larger trees to the project landscape plan.
Finally, Council will consider the conditional rezoning request of a new 185-room hotel at 192 Haywood Road. While Council voted at its Sept. 27 meeting to begin the process of revising the rules that govern the size and types of projects Council reviews, as well as the nature of Council’s review, those changes are still making their way through the process. This project is being reviewed under the existing ordinances. At over 175,000 square feet, this project is a Level III project that requires a Conditional Use Permit review. The CUP process requires Council to refrain from any communication with the developers prior to the Council hearing and to make its decision based on the project’s compliance with seven standards.
Should the new regulations discussed in September be approved, all but the smallest hotel projects and any project over 100,000 square feet will be reviewed by Council. In addition, Council will consider those projects under a conditional zoning process that allows communication between the Council and developers outside of the public hearing. The CZ process also gives Council greater discretion in approving or denying an application based on a wider range of considerations than the CUP process allows.
Council will consider “whether to have staff develop an outreach plan to determine the level of interest of the community on potential re-districting.”
Appointments to city boards and commissions could also be made or a short-list of candidates to interview could be determined. Municipal bodies with openings requiring new appointments include:
- Board of Adjustment
- Board of Electrical Examiners
- Firemen’s Relief Fund
- Historical Resources Commission
- Metropolitan Sewerage District
- Riverfront Redevelopment Commission
- Soil Erosion/Stormwater Review Committee
- Sustainability Advisory Committee on Energy and the Environment
- Tree Commission
City Council will meet at 5 p.m. in Council chambers on the second floor of Asheville City Hall. The full meeting agenda and supporting documents can be found here.