City of Asheville development boards

Mountain Xpress Development Guide

Over 30 boards and commissions guide the work of Asheville’s government, but three are critical to the fate of large-scale development in the city: Asheville City Council, the Design Review Committee and the Planning and Zoning Commission. Below you’ll find more about what each body does, who’s on it and how you can get involved with its meetings.

Asheville City Council

  • Website:
  • Development responsibilities: Asheville City Council is the city’s legislative body; its members establish laws and policies related to development, including zoning designations. The Council also focuses on the community’s goals, major projects and long-term considerations such as community growth, land use development, capital improvement plans, capital financing and strategic planning. City policies are then carried out by a Council-appointed city manager who oversees day-to-day operations.
  • Current members: Asheville City Council consists of a mayor and six council members who are elected at-large for four-year, staggered terms. As of May, members included: attorney and Mayor Esther Manheimer; community consultant and Vice Mayor Sheneika Smith; retired CEO of outdoor manufacturer Coleman Gwen Wisler; piano teacher and service-industry worker Kim Roney; real estate agent Sandra Kilgore; S. Antanette Mosley, attorney; and French Broad Food Co-op project manager Sage Turner. Asheville’s city manager is Debra Campbell.
  • Meeting details: Asheville City Council meetings take place on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month starting at 5 p.m. As of May, meetings take place at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center – Asheville Banquet Hall. Livesteams are also available through Asheville’s public engagement hub at and on the city’s YouTube channel at Members of the public can also listen live by calling 855-925-280 and entering a code shared prior to each meeting or watch Charter/Spectrum Cable channel 193 and AT&T U-Verse channel 99.
  • Board agendas: Agendas are typically posted the Friday before each meeting on the city’s website. Members of the public can contact City Clerk Maggie Burleson at 828-259-5601 to be added to the email distribution list to receive Council agendas and Council-related notifications.
  • Public comment: Members of the public who wish to speak during Council meetings must attend in person and sign up at the door; no live remote comment is permitted. Prerecorded voicemail messages can be left by calling 855-925-2801 and entering the meeting code. All spoken comments are limited to three minutes per person per item. Email comments are also accepted through 9 a.m. the day of the meeting. Council receives transcribed voicemail and email comments, which are also posted online, but they are not shared during the meeting itself.

Planning and Zoning Commission

  • Website:
  • Development responsibilities: Asheville’s Planning and Zoning Commission approves downtown Level II projects, reviews text for proposed amendments to the Unified Development Ordinance, hears proposals to zone or change the zoning of property and makes recommendations to City Council for final action.
  • Current members: The commission consists of seven members, each appointed for three-year terms. Five are city residents appointed by City Council, and two are residents of areas outside the city limits appointed by the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners.
  • Meeting details: Meetings take place at 5 p.m. the first Wednesday of the month at City Hall in the first floor North Conference Room. Members of the public can watch the meeting live through the city’s engagement hub at or on the city’s YouTube channel at Meetings are also available by phone by calling 855-925-2801 and entering the meeting code.
  • Board agendas: Agendas are posted to the Planning and Zoning Commission’s webpage two weeks before each meeting.
  • Public comment: The commission accepts prerecorded voicemail comments, written comments and live comments during the meeting. Voicemail and written comments must be submitted by 5 p.m. the day before the meeting. All public comments will be sent to the commission prior to the meeting but may not be read aloud.

Design Review Committee

  • Website:
  • Development responsibilities: The Design Review Committee reviews all major works in the River District and Central Business District, as well as hotels located outside of those areas. The committee also performs studies and prepares plans for desirable standards and goals for the aesthetic enhancement of the city.
  • Current members: Asheville City Council appoints three members to the Design Review Committee from the Downtown Commission and three members from the Asheville Area Redevelopment Commission. Council also appoints three at-large members from the broader public.
  • Meeting details: As of May, meetings take place virtually at 12:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month. Members of the public can watch the meeting live on the city’s YouTube Channel at
  • Board agendas: Agendas are posted between 10 and 14 days ahead of each meeting. Materials, such as plans and reports, are usually posted the Friday before the meeting.
  • Public comment: The commission accepts prerecorded voicemail comments, written comments and live comments during the meeting. Pre-recorded voicemail comments can be made by 5 p.m. the day before the meeting by calling 855-925-2801 and entering the meeting code. Written public comments may be emailed to but must be submitted by 5 p.m. the day before the meeting.

Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.