Asheville City Council preview: community media “Request for Proposals” and Sunny Point rezoning

Asheville CIty Council tackles two potentially tough issues at its June 28 meeting tonight: the future of the now-defunct public-access channel and a proposal to rezone property at Sunny Point Cafe from a residential to a business classification.

Earlier this year, URTV went silent. Out of money and its agreements with Asheville and Buncombe County expired, the organization managing the public-access channel — the WNC Community Media Center — shut down operations. Asheville City Council will consider the next step: City staff will present a plan to partner with Buncombe officials for seeking new management.

Council will also consider rezoning a portion of the land occupied by Sunny Point Cafe, located on the corner of Haywood Road and State Street in West Asheville, from a residential to a business classification.

Staff’s public-access channel presentation includes a Request for Proposals — plans submitted by any groups looking to start a community media program to replace the now defunct URTV, which closed up shop earlier this year.

According to the RFP terms, funding for any new community media project would last for three years, beginning this September. The first year’s funding would be $60,000, dropping to $40,000 and $20,000 in the following two years. Under the proposal, the city would split the total amount evenly with Buncombe County each year. After three years, no funds would be provided by either the city or Buncombe County.

The RFP also calls for a community media development project that emphasizes both traditional and non-traditional means of distributing content, and the RFP does not require a public access channel to be part of a group’s proposal, though submissions are allowed to include one. The RFP was broadened to encourage groups to use more new media options such as streaming video, and partner with other local organizations.

If Council adopts the plan, proposals will be accepted throughout July. A recommendation to award a contract would be brought to City Council and Buncombe County Commissioners in September.

Also on the agenda is a measure to rezone a portion of the parcel of the Sunny Point Cafe property from RM-16 (Residential Multi-Family High Density) to CB II (Community Business II). The .66 acre parcel is currently split-zoned, with the cafe segment already zoned for business.

The property currently zoned for residential use includes a small brick home, a gravel parking lot used primarily by the restaurant’s employees and a garden that provides produce for the restaurant. On March 24, the city issued a citation, charging the property owner, Belk Moon Raab, LLC, with having a dumpster (since moved) and a gravel parking lot on the residential portion of the lot, prompting the rezoning request.

If approved, the rezoning would also require the property owner to Install a privacy fence and additional landscape buffer between the parcel and adjacent properties. Sunny Point will also be required to enclose its dumpster and composting bins. The dumpster is to be limited to non-food waste.

For the full agenda, click here.


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