Asheville City Council moves Jan. 13 meeting to U.S. Cellular Center

The roof of Asheville City Hall.

After a major water line break that flooded the 6th floor of City Hall and put a stop (for now) to elevator service, Asheville Council members will hold their Tuesday, Jan. 13, meeting in the U.S. Cellular Center’s banquet hall. It’s their first meeting of 2015 and they plan to ask North Carolina legislators to re-instate a moratorium on fracking in the  state.

The anti-fracking resolution is part of City Council’s consent agenda — items that are, generally, approved without discussion. The resolution:

“… calls on the state not to explore future horizontal hydraulic fracturing in Western North Carolina, Buncombe County, and the City of Asheville; … calls on the General Assembly to re-instate the ban on fracking and support the continued moratorium on injection wells in Western North Carolina, Buncombe County, and the City of Asheville [and] calls on the General Assembly to re-instate the authority of local governments to regulate fracking and its impacts if local elected officials deem it necessary.

In other business, Council will consider a $3.5 million economic incentive grant for Linamar Corp., which is planning an expansion that encompasses “a $75 [million] investment and 250 new employees.” In November, Buncombe County commissioners approved a $2.2 million incentive for the expansion.

As for zoning issues, Council will hold several hearings, including a request for conditional zoning of 10 Madison Ave. and 202 E. Chestnut St. from a high-density residential classification to an office district classification that allow “changed conditions to landscape and setback requirements [for] the use of an existing single-family residence as a law office.” According to the staff report, the 2-story building on E. Chestnut is “already used as an office” and the Madison structure is used as a residence. The proposal includes enclosing the front porch of 10 Madison, moving pedestrian access to the south side, as well as adding shared parking spaces behind the E. Chestnut building.

Asheville’s Planning and Zoning Commission initially denied the request. The city staff report notes neighbors voiced concern that “while the current owner is seen as a good neighbor and generally supported by folks on the block , the rezoning would open office uses to any future owner who may not have as much of a decimation or commitment to the area. City staff also recommend denying the request, noting:

“While the proposal does preserve a contributing resource in a National Register Historic District through adaptive reuse, the change of use is a loss to the supply of housing close to downtown and impacts the residential quality of the neighborhood. Staff does not support the change of use to office and believes the residential structure should remain residential in use.”

Council’s Jan. 13 meeting starts at 5 p.m. at the U.S. Cellular Center Banquet Hall on the second floor. For the complete agenda, click here.

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About Margaret Williams
Editor Margaret Williams first wrote for Xpress in 1994. An Alabama native, she has lived in Western North Carolina since 1987 and completed her Masters of Liberal Arts & Sciences from UNC-Asheville in 2016. Follow me @mvwilliams

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