Buncombe County development boards

Mountain Xpress Development Guide

Buncombe County is a relative newcomer to land use regulation. Prior to 2009, no countywide zoning was in place whatsoever. Today, many outlying areas still remain under open use zoning. For parts of the county where development is more regulated, these three boards have the greatest say.

Buncombe County Board of Commissioners

  • Website: avl.mx/4ay
  • Development responsibilities: The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners is the county’s legislative body. Its members make final decisions regarding zoning requests and text amendments, including rules about solid waste, subdivisions, erosion control, stormwater and more. The board also manages long-term considerations such as community growth, land use and strategic planning. County policies are then carried out by a board-appointed county manager who oversees day-to-day operations.
  • Current members: The seven-member Board of Commissioners consists of a chair, who is elected at large on a four-year cycle, and two commissioners from each of three districts, who are elected in even years for four-year, staggered terms. Current members include: Chair Brownie Newman, owner of Headwaters Solar; retired banker and civil rights leader Al Whitesides; farmer and WNC Communities Director of Community and Agricultural Programs Terri Wells; minister and Campaign for Southern Equality Executive Director Jasmine Beach-Ferrara; Vice Chair Amanda Edwards, executive director of the A-B Tech Foundation; Cypress Creek Renewables manager Parker Sloan; and retired NASCAR driver Robert Pressley. Buncombe’s county manager is Avril Pinder.
  • Meeting details: Board of Commissioners meetings take place on the first and third Tuesday of every month starting at 5 p.m at 200 College St., Suite 326, Asheville. Meetings are livestreamed through Buncombe’s Facebook page at avl.mx/b3i and on Charter/Spectrum Cable channel 192.
  • Board agendas: Agendas are typically posted by 5 p.m. the Wednesday before each meeting on the county’s website. Members of the public can contact County Clerk Lamar Joyner at 828-250-4105 or Lamar.Joyner@BuncombeCounty.org to be added to the email distribution list to receive board agendas and related notifications.
  • Public comment: Members of the public who wish to speak must attend in person. Open comment takes place at the start of each regular meeting, and additional public hearings are held on specific items. No formal phone or email comment is accepted, although phone and social media information for all commissioners is available on the county’s website.

Board of Adjustment

  • Website: avl.mx/anq
  • Development responsibilities: Buncombe’s Board of Adjustment authorizes development ordinance variances, issues special use permits and hears appeals to decisions by county development staff.
  • Current members: The board consists of 14 members, appointed by the county Board of Commissioners to three-year terms. Seven are regular members, and the remainder are alternates who serve if a regular member is unable to attend a meeting. The board’s current makeup includes lawyers, real estate agents, construction managers and business owners.
  • Meeting details: Meetings take place at noon the second Wednesday of the month at 200 College St., Suite 326, Asheville.
  • Board agendas: Agendas are posted to the Board of Adjustment’s webpage at least 10 days before each meeting.
  • Public comment: Due to the quasi-judicial nature of Board of Adjustment hearings, people who wish to comment on a given matter must submit a formal request to participate. Those seeking to comment as witnesses should submit the form found at avl.mx/b3j via email to PlanningInfo@BuncombeCounty.org or by mail to county planning staff at 46 Valley St. at least 24 hours before the meeting. Those seeking standing in a board hearing should submit the form found at avl.mx/b3l via the same means.

Planning Board

  • Website: avl.mx/ans
  • Development responsibilities: The Planning Board serves as an advisory review panel for major subdivisions. Members also issue recommendations on rezoning requests and zoning text amendments to the Board of Commissioners and participate in long-range planning efforts like the county’s comprehensive plan.
  • Current members: The board consists of nine members, appointed by the county Board of Commissioners to three-year terms. The body’s current members include several real estate agents, lawyers, architects and affordable housing advocates.
  • Meeting details: Meetings take place at 9:30 a.m. the third Monday of the month at 30 Valley St. in Asheville.
  • Board agendas: Agendas are posted to the Planning Board’s webpage at least 10 days ahead of each meeting.
  • Public comment: Live public comment is accepted on each public hearing before the board, as well as at the end of each meeting.
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