Asheville Council to vote on controversial housing proposals

Z marks the spot: Signs like this mark areas where the city of Asheville is seeking public opinion ahead of possible zoning changes. Photo by Jake Frankel

On Tuesday, Dec. 9, Asheville City Council will wrangle with an agenda that’s packed with controversial housing and development issues.

In a move that could have longterm consequences, Council will consider amending the city’s development ordinance to allow higher density residential growth in almost every commercially zoned area of the city.

The changes would also incentivize developers to offer more affordable units by proportionally tying density increases to how much affordable housing is included. Council members such as Gordon Smith hope the changes will drastically increase affordable housing options within the next five years. If just 10 percent of eligible vacant land were developed at the proposed maximum density levels, more than 2,300 multifamily units would be built (more than 460 of them at affordable rent levels), according to a city report.

Meanwhile, Council will consider three specific housing proposals, all of which are drawing intense opposition from neighborhood groups:

• Developers are asking Council for a zoning change to build a 300-plus unit apartment complex and retail space on Fairview Road near Biltmore Village.

• Developers are asking Council for a zoning change to build a 254 multi-family units in the Biltmore area off of Thompson Street.

•  Developers are asking Council for a zoning change to build 104 apartments on 6.5 acres in West Asheville along Hazel Mill Road.

Council will hold public hearings on all of the proposals before voting. The meeting begins at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 9, in room 209 of City Hall.

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About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning journalist who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

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7 thoughts on “Asheville Council to vote on controversial housing proposals

      • Jake Frankel

        In all three cases, neighborhood residents have turned in protest petitions to the city. That means Council will need “super majorities” of support to approve the projects. If only 2 Council members vote “no” that will be enough to block them.

        • David Ankeney

          At around 1:30pm today (Sunday 12/7) my 8 year-old son rushed inside from playing outside. We live on a very secluded, large lot at the end of a private driveway with no through traffic. “Dad, I’m scared because there are some strange people walking around in our yard right now.” To my surprise, it was Vice Mayor Marc Hunt and City Councilwoman Gwen Wisler. They told me they just walked up from the 14 acre parcel that’s being proposed for development down below. No call first, just wandered up into my private property. I am not kidding. Trespassing technically?? They asked me where the 10-40 foot retaining wall will be along my property—as in future tense, it’s going to happen, deal with it. Then they shared some awkward thoughts on Craftsmen architecture, then said goodbye and strolled out on my driveway headed towards Fairview Road. I took some pictures if anyone wants them. Still rather stunned that it actually happened.

          • Gwen Wisler

            David:
            Marc and I apologized while we were there; I was trying to understand the proposed project. I am sorry. Please apologize to your son for me also.

          • Marc Hunt

            Apologies for not calling in advance. Gwen and I were there to better understand the project, and I appreciated Mr. Ankeney showing us around and explaining his concerns. Still gathering input so I can responsibly make a fully informed decision tomorrow at Council as I explained to Mr. Ankeney.

  1. David Lynch

    These projects would create a population density within them that is 16 TIMES greater than the average population density within our city limits. The density would be 24 TIMES greater than the ¼ mile radius surrounding the properties. This in an area already hemmed in by dangerous roads, traffic congestion and train interruptions.

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