In many parts of the city, Asheville is pursuing new zoning rules to encourage the construction of mixed-use development and affordable housing. But on Patton Avenue in West Asheville, the city may instead be trading one big-box retailer for another.
During their meeting of Tuesday, May 24, members of Asheville City Council will consider a conditional zoning request that would allow Ingles Markets to construct a grocery store, gas station and other retail space on the 14.45-acre site of a former Kmart. Plans for the site include a nearly 89,000-square-foot supermarket and a “Gas Express” fueling station, along with 53,000 square feet of additional retail space in one-story buildings.
According to a staff report, the property at 1001 Patton Avenue was originally included among the areas proposed for Urban Place zoning. This new classification, targeting several nodes along the city’s commercial corridors, aims to incentivize affordable housing and increase walkability in areas currently dominated by big-box stores. In September, Council rezoned 122 acres as Urban Place, including the current site of the Innsbruck Mall on Tunnel Road and the shopping center on Bleachery Boulevard in East Asheville.
However, the report continues, staff removed the property from Urban Place consideration “due to concerns from adjacent neighborhoods about future increased property values and the potential impacts of displacement in their neighborhoods.” A letter from representatives of the neighboring Emma community attached to the rezoning application supports the current Ingles plan.
In other news
City Manager Debra Campbell will present her recommended fiscal year 2022-23 operating budget. A public hearing on the budget is expected to take place during the regular Council meeting Tuesday, June 14. Council members will then vote on whether to adopt the budget Tuesday, June 28.
Council will also vote on whether to apply for $6.8 million in Tourism Product Development Fund grants from the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority. TPDF funding is generated through the 6% tax levied on all lodging sales within the county. By law, 75% of those occupancy tax revenues must be spent on tourism marketing, while the remaining 25% goes toward tourism-related capital projects.
If awarded, the funding would be allotted for improvements to the Asheville Municipal Golf Course, phase one of the Swannanoa Greenway project, upgrades to the WNC Nature Center and transportation infrastructure along Coxe Avenue.
Consent agenda and public comment
The consent agenda for the meeting contains 14 items, which will be approved as a package unless singled out for separate discussion. Highlights include the following:
- A resolution authorizing Campbell to increase Harrah’s Cherokee Center – Asheville’s contract with Labor Finders for temporary staffing by $20,000, to a total of $100,000. HCCA currently has five vacant positions, representing half of its total operations crew.
- A resolution authorizing Campbell to apply for over $5 million in federal transit grants. If the funds are awarded, the city plans to purchase six hybrid buses and six replacement electric batteries. A local match of about $757,000 would be required.
- A resolution authorizing Campbell to sign a letter of funding commitment to the N.C. Department of Transportation regarding aesthetic treatments and transit improvements associated with the Interstate 26 connector project. Work may include bicycle, pedestrian or public transportation infrastructure, as well as landscaping and lighting. The city’s total anticipated contribution to this work would be about $657,000.
Council’s regular meeting will take place at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center – Asheville Banquet Hall, located at 87 Haywood St., starting at 5 p.m. The meeting will also be livestreamed through Asheville’s public engagement hub and on the city’s YouTube channel. Members of the public can also listen live by calling 855-925-2801, meeting code 5001.
Members of the public who wish to speak during the regular meeting must attend in person and sign up at the door; no live remote comment will be permitted.
Prerecorded voicemail messages can also be left at 855-925-2801, meeting code 5001; written comments can be sent to AshevilleCityCouncilMay242022@PublicInput.com until 9 a.m. May 24. General comments for City Council can be sent at any time to AshevilleNCCouncil@AshevilleNC.gov.
The full meeting agenda and supporting documents can be found here.