A proposed new 185-room room hotel in downtown Asheville is back on City Council’s agenda after being bumped from its Jan. 10 meeting due to the absence of Council member Brian Haynes.
Parks Hospitality Group of Raleigh will seek approval of its Embassy Suites Hotel at 192 Haywood St. on the former site of the Buncombe County Sheriff’s office. The proposed development also includes a 200-car parking structure.
On Oct. 14, the Downtown Commission voted to recommend that Council deny the project. The Planning & Zoning Commission recommended approval at its Dec. 7 meeting, and also approved two variances for the project. City Council’s review will be conducted as a quasi-judicial proceeding, with those wishing to testify required to give their input under oath. Council must base its decision on whether the project meets seven legal standards.
While Council voted in September to revise the rules that govern the size and types of projects Council reviews, as well as the nature of Council’s review, those changes have not yet gone into effect. This project is being reviewed under the existing ordinances. At over 175,000 square feet, this project is a Level III project that requires a Conditional Use Permit review. The CUP process requires Council to refrain from any communication with the developers prior to the Council hearing and to make its decision based on the project’s compliance with seven standards.
Should the new regulations discussed in September be implemented, all but the smallest hotel projects and any project over 100,000 square feet will be reviewed by Council. In addition, Council will consider those projects under a conditional zoning process that allows communication between the Council and developers outside of the public hearing. The CZ process also gives Council greater discretion in approving or denying an application based on a wider range of considerations than the CUP process allows.
Council will proclaim Feb. 12 “International Darwin Day.”
- Accepting a donation by the Asheville Rotary Breakfast Club of an audio frequency induction loop system to aid those with hearing loss. The system will be installed in Council chambers on the second floor of City Hall.
- Scheduling a work session to hear an update on the implementation of the bonds on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2:30 p.m. in the first floor north conference room of City Hall.
- Scheduling a joint worksession with the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 4 p.m. at 200 College St.
- Scheduling City Council’s annual retreat on Friday, Feb. 17, 8:30 a.m. in Overlook Hall (300 Field Drive) at the UNC-Asheville campus.
- Authorizing a construction agreement for an estimated $828,951 with Norfolk Southern Railway Company related to the construction of the River Arts District Transportation Improvement Project (RADTIP).
- Appointing the Transit Committee Chairperson, or the Chairperson’s designee, to serve as the Urban Transit Representative on the French Broad River Metropolitan Planning Organization Board.
Presentations and reports
Council will hear reports on the Asheville Police Department and on progress on the city’s Comprehensive Plan process.
Council will hear a staff report and conduct a public hearing on a request to rezone a private road right-of-way and six single family home parcels located on Scottish Circle in south Asheville from Office II District (O2) to RS-8 Residential Single Family High Density District (RS8).
According to a staff memo:
The property was originally developed in 2005 by assembling multiple parcels into a new 3.7 acre, single family subdivision containing 17 home sites and new road. The parcels range in size from .13 acres to .23 acres and all have frontage on Scottish Circle. Ten of the 17 parcels are zoned RS8, four are split zoned RS8/O2 and three are zoned O2.
Seven property owners are requesting the rezoning to be consistent with the surrounding community. On Jan. 4, the Planning & Zoning Commission voted unanimously to recommend that Council approve the rezoning request.
Council will also conduct a quasi-judicial hearing on the proposed hotel at 192 Haywood St., as described above.
Council will consider questions for candidates for the Asheville City Schools Board of Education, and it will appoint new members to the Historic Resources Commission and the Asheville Area Riverfront Redevelopment Commission.
The full meeting agenda and supporting documents can be found here.
Asheville City Council meets at 5 p.m. in Council chambers on the second floor of Asheville City Hall. Prior to the Jan. 24 meeting, Council will hold pre-arranged interviews, beginning at 3:50 p.m. in room 209 of City Hall, as follows:
3:50 – Gerry Leonard (Historic Resources Commission)
3:58 – Ed Flowers (Historic Resources Commission)
4:14 – Darren Green (Asheville Area Riverfront Redevelopment Commission)
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