At its July 26 meeting, Asheville City Council:
• passed in a 6-0 vote (Mayor Terry Bellamy was not present) a request to rezone a portion of the lot containing Trinity United Methodist Church at 587 Haywood Road in West Asheville from Community Business II (CB II) and Residential Multi-Family Medium Density (RM-8) to Conditional Zoning. The move will allow the church to move forward with its plans to use its existing education building for a K-8 school. As part of the request, Trinity will add to an existing privacy fence and plant additional buffer trees on the eastern boarder of the property, which sits adjacent to three homes.
• unanimously passed a resolution making the city a co-applicant with the Asheville Housing Authority for a Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant (formerly called HOPE VI grants). The grant provides funding for a variety of community revitalization projects, with many aimed at creating mixed-income housing and stimulating homeownership among lower income residents. The Housing Authority said that Lee-Walker Heights and Pisgah View Apartments are both candidates for Choice Neighborhoods funding. Lee-Walker is the oldest public housing development in the city, and Pisgah View is the second oldest. The city has already committed itself to the application process, approving $40,000 in Community Development Block Grant funding for the planning and application process.
• unanimously passed a measure creating a list of five questions to be sent to all of the city’s Planning & Zoning Committee candidates. Among the questions included in the list are ones asking applicants to talk about their vision for growth and development in Asheville, as well as one asking candidates how strictly they believe the Unified Development Ordinance should be applied.
• gave unanimous approval to a 19-item consent agenda. Items on that agenda include a budget amendment allowing the city to spend $120,000 to purchase a street-milling machine. In the past, the city has contracted out milling services, but staff expects the city to be able to save around $900,000 over the next five years by purchasing the machine. Also on the consent agenda was a measure authorizing the city to lease 47 parking spaces of the surface lot at O. Henry Avenue and Haywood Street from the lot’s owner, AT&T. The lease will cost the city $31,020 ($55 per space per month) per year. The spaces are in close proximity to the Asheville Civic Center and the Grove Arcade. Council also set a public hearing for the economic development incentive for the new Linamar auto parts plant. Last month the Canadian-based company announced it was taking over the former Volvo plant.