Asheville City Council preview: of densities and developments

At its meeting tomorrow, Sept. 28, Asheville City Council is set to take up two matters that involve the ongoing debate over how the city should develop: the 100-unit Caledonia Apartments in Kenilworth and extending incentives for workforce housing.

If approved, the proposed 100-unit Caledonia Apartments project will be built next to the Kenilworth Inn Apartments on Caledonia Road and Finalee Avenue. The city staff report recommends the project get the green light from Council, asserting that it meets the city’s goals of infill development, energy efficient building, new sidewalks, and denser, mixed-use housing, featuring a variety of apartments and underground parking to minimize the impermeable surface.

However, the project’s also drawing some opposition from neighborhood advocacy groups such as People Advocating Real Conservancy (PARC) which sent an e-mail out calling on citizens to come out, promising that “Kenilworth speakers will address our concerns: Safety, Traffic, Density, Open Space,  Storm runoff, and Neighborhood character.” PARC also targets the project as inappropriate for the sloping nature of the land it will be built on.

The battle over this development is the latest in a series of clashes over how the city should grow, something I analyzed in a blog post about two months ago. For other perspectives on the issue, see Mike Lewis’ commentary Poor and Poorer and Robin Merrell’s Priced Out.

Council will also consider extending incentives — in the form of discounted fees and possible eligibility for grants — to projects that meet the majority of a list of requirements, including energy efficiency, mixed-use and affordability.

Asheville City Council meets at 5 p.m., Sept. 28 on the second floor of City Hall.

— David Forbes, senior news reporter


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