Council approves JCC expansion plans

The Jewish Community Center property on Charlotte Street. Image provided by city of Asheville
The Jewish Community Center property on Charlotte Street. Image provided by city of Asheville

Plans for expanding the Jewish Community Center in its long-time location at 236 Charlotte St. got the nod from Asheville City Council on March 28.

The JCC is already building a new pool facility and associated parking at 40 Clyde St., about 600 feet away from the pool’s current location. That project didn’t require Council’s attention, explained city planner Jessica Bernstein, since it was approved as a Level II project under the zoning code.

Lael Gray, the executive director for the JCC, told Council the new pool will have a retractable cover so it can be used year-round. The facility will be open by Memorial Day, Gray said. It will serve as the home pool for the Asheville High School swim team, she added.

Rendering of the new JCC pool showing retractable cover. Image from JCC website
Rendering of the new JCC pool now under construction on Clyde Street showing retractable cover. Image from JCC website

On the site of the old pool, the JCC will build a 7,588-square-foot childcare facility and reception area to connect the new building with the existing community center. Each classroom in the childcare center will feature direct access to the outdoors, said Dorothea Schulz of the architecture firm Clark Nexsen.

Chris Day of Civil Design Concepts responded to questions about the exceptions to current zoning regulations requested by the JCC in connection with the project. Day said the JCC had occupied the site for the last 75 years.

Some of the need for the exceptions, Bernstein said, resulted from the Charlotte Street Overlay District requirements, which were implemented after the current facility was built. The exceptions include parking, sidewalks, landscaping, setbacks and architectural design requirements.

Two zoning requests — a reduction in the amount of windows from 40 to 20 percent of the building’s facade and changing the driveway on Hillside Street to a two-way entrance — were driven by security concerns, Day said. The JCC, like other jewish community centers around the country, has recently received bomb threats.

Council unanimously approved the JCC’s conditional zoning request.

Tomorrow's JCC site plan. Image from JCC website
Tomorrow’s JCC site plan. Image from JCC website

More on Asheville City Council’s March 28 meeting:

For more of the latest city and county news check out Xpress’ Buncombe Beat.

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About Virginia Daffron
Associate Editor and News Reporter. Lover of mountains, native of WNC. Follow me @virginiadaffron

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