With a relatively light agenda for its Sept. 12 meeting, Asheville City Council will dive back into discussion of a proposed single-family subdivision in the Shiloh community and will tackle a proposal to ease the parking crunch downtown by allowing temporary gravel lots.
Council will also consider a proclamation declaring Sept. 15 – Oct. 15 as Hispanic Heritage Month.
Items Council will consider as part of its consent agenda include:
- A resolution authorizing the city manager to enter into a contract with Sam Schwartz Consulting LLC to provide consulting and engineering services on the design of the Interstate 26 Connector project as well as a budget amendment to use $200,000 from the city’s capital improvement program to fund the contract.
- A resolution authorizing the city manager to enter into an agreement with Tindale Oliver for development of a transit master plan. The city will pay $24,000 for the plan development, its required matching portion of a $120,000 federal grant for the project.
- The adoption of a Section 3 policy within the city’s Community Development Block Grant and HOME Investment Partnerships programs. Section 3 is a provision of the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968 that helps foster local economic development, neighborhood improvement and individual self-sufficiency by providing job training, employment and contracting opportunities for low- and very low-income residents in their neighborhoods.
- Authorization for the Asheville Police Department to apply for a $54,574 grant through the Department of Justice. The funds would be used to create a task force of police officers to deter and interrupt violent crimes.
- An ordinance to change the speed limit on several roads to 25 miles per hour.
A public hearing will be held to discuss conditional zoning for a proposed 20-home development in the Shiloh community, which lies between Hendersonville and Sweeten Creek roads just south of Interstate 40. Mountain Housing Opportunities is requesting conditional zoning to reduce the minimum lot size from 5,000 square feet to 4,000 square feet and minimum lot width from 50 feet to 40 feet.
The hearing is a continuation from the Aug. 22 meeting. At that time, discussion centered on a strip of open space that would be created through an easement across privately owned parcels. Council members asked the applicant who would be responsible for maintaining that property and managing its stormwater system. Norma Baynes of the Shiloh Community Association indicated that the group needed to more closely consider whether it would be willing to take on that role.
For its second public hearing of the evening, City Council will discuss whether to allow temporary gravel parking lots in the Central Business District. Currently, parking lots in the CBD must be paved, and temporary parking lots are only allowed for construction staging and when in connection with an active building permit. The proposal would allow temporary gravel lots to help ease parking congestion and to provide a path to compliance for lots that have already been put in place without approval.
“The lack of monthly parking for downtown residents and workers has reached a critical level of concern,” states a staff memo on the amendment to the Unified Development Ordinance. The Downtown Commission reviewed the idea at its April, May and June meetings, when members expressed the view that the plan doesn’t encourage the use of property for surface parking beyond a limited time period; they urged the city to continue to explore a more permanent solution. In August, the Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval of the proposal while pointing out that loose gravel could affect stormwater drainage and that allowing temporary lots might interfere with the creation of a more robust and long-term parking plan.
A public hearing is also planned to receive public comments on the proposed limited obligation bond financing for capital projects and acquisitions. In August, Council passed a resolution authorizing the city to refinance a portion of the 2016 limited obligation bond ($18 million), refinance all or a portion of the currently outstanding 2012 LOBs ($11.7 million), and make application to the Local Government Commission of up to $31.2 million limited obligation refunding bonds. Council will also allow the public to give feedback on a plan to apply to the commission for up to $20 million in special obligation bonds.
Limited and special obligation bonds are forms of municipal borrowing that do not require voter approval through a referendum but must be the subject of a public hearing. Unlike general obligation bonds, which are secured by the municipality’s future tax revenue, limited obligation bonds use real estate as collateral for the loan; special obligation bonds use anticipated municipal revenues from sources other than taxes (for example, license and permitting fees).
Council will also consider assigning a zoning designation of highway business district to a 1.26-acre property at 421 Airport Road that the city annexed in June and on which a commercial building is currently under construction.
Council will decide which candidates it will interview for the Planning and Zoning Commission.
Council will consider which candidates to interview for spots on the Affordable Housing Committee, Recreation Board and Tourism Development Authority.
Council will hear comment from members of the public on items not previously discussed on Council’s agenda.
Asheville City Council meets at 5 p.m. in Council chambers on the second floor of City Hall at 70 Court Plaza, Asheville. The full meeting agenda and supporting documents can be found here.
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