Asheville City Council preview: Sept. 16 meeting

City Council will get an update on a possible solution to parking woes on Biltmore Avenue at its Sept. 16 work session.

Council will also be updated on terms of a proposed parking garage that would be built under a public/private partnership with Public Interest Projects, Inc. That company has plans to build a hotel and mixed-use development at 51 Biltmore Ave., where the city currently maintains a surface parking lot. Under the plans, the city would assume control of a 437-space garage and public restrooms that are part of the project.

A study determined that the area has a current peak deficit of parking in the amount of 622 spaces and a normal demand of 476 parking spaces. The existing surface parking lot has approximately 100 spaces.

If Council approves terms, it could vote formally on the matter on Oct. 14.

In other business at the work session, which typically is nonvoting, Council will receive a Water System Master Plan update to help coordinate future improvements and new construction. According to an outside consultant’s report, in 2007, Buncombe County population was 243,565. In 2012, 2017 and 2037, the population is projected to be 264,326, 285,088 and 368,135, respectively. The major growth is projected to be in the southern part of Buncombe County. Between now and 2037, the consultant projects 14 pipeline installations, one pump station replacement, one new pump station, and additional water treatment plant capacity at a total estimated cost of nearly $60.5 million.

Council also will consider regulating activities at the downtown Transit Center. The central issue is whether to allow “speech activities” at the center or possibly in a designated area nearby. Such activities are petition-gathering, speech-making and voter registration, among others. The city currently has no rules, and Council is being asked to offer guidance on what is permissible while also taking into account operational issues at the center such as traffic and pedestrian flow, safety and litter.

And speaking of safety and traffic flow, Council also will consider the feasibility of implementing an $8,500 Collision Avoidance Driver Training Program to be offered to high-school-age drivers by the Asheville Police Department.

The meeting takes place at 3 p.m. in Council chambers on the second floor of City Hall. The proceedings can also be viewed live on the city government channel (Charter Cable 11).

For the complete agenda and documents, click here.

— Hal L. Millard, staff writer

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