At its regular meeting on May 4, Asheville’s Planning & Zoning Commission will vote on a proposed zoning amendment to allow short-term rentals in accessory dwelling units under the city’s homestay ordinance. Whether or not it passes muster with P&Z, the amendment will then go before City Council for a vote at an upcoming Council meeting.
The active — and sometimes heated — debate over whether short-term rentals ought to be allowed in Asheville has raged for more than two years. While leaving the existing prohibition on whole-house, stand-alone rentals for periods of less than 30 days unchanged, City Council passed an ordinance expanding a form of short-term rentals known as homestays on Nov. 17 last year. The ordinance allows home owners or tenants to rent a maximum of two bedrooms in a primary residence on a short-term basis. The permanent resident must be licensed by the city and must be present during the stay.
The current homestay ordinance explicitly prohibits the use of accessory dwelling units (known as ADUs) for short-term stays. Some examples of ADUs include garage apartments, basement apartments, attached “in-law” suites and backyard cottages. ADUs are self-contained living spaces which include kitchens. In 2015, City Council loosened zoning requirements for building new ADUs, citing the city’s need for affordable housing as the reason for encouraging more small units spread throughout the city’s neighborhoods.
On Dec. 8 last year, City Council asked the city’s planning and urban design department to research the impact of expanding homestays to ADUs. Council specifically asked for information on how such an action would affect neighborhoods and affordable housing. They also asked planners to gather public input on the possible change and to research the experiences of comparable cities.
A memo prepared by planner Shannon Tuch for P&Z reports that the reactions of the public and of city volunteer boards and commissions to the idea of allowing homestays in ADUs has been decidedly mixed. Citizens who responded to an online survey at the city’s public engagement website Open City Hall came out strongly in favor of the change, while the city’s Affordable Housing Advisory and Housing and Community Development committees oppose it. Tuch’s memo points out that respondents to the public survey were overwhelmingly home owners rather than renters. Thus, those Asheville residents policy makers worry would be negatively affected by the proposed change (by reducing the number of units available for long-term rental) do not appear to have participated in the survey in significant numbers.
Projects to be reviewed
P&Z will review several proposed construction projects:
- Two new buildings at Asheville Outlets at 800 Brevard Rd. One multi-tenant building will total 75,000 square feet, while the second is 8,000 square feet. Taken together with the recently-constructed Field & Stream building, the total size of new construction on the site requires Level III review; after P&Z’s vote, the project will head to City Council for a quasi-judicial review for a conditional use permit.
- 600-unit, three-story self-storage facility at 1292 Hendersonville Rd. (adjacent to Copper River Grille to the south)
- Six buildings at 257 and 263 Long Shoals Rd. adjacent to Lake Julian. The buildings comprise a total of 56,500 square feet of commercial space, including retail, office, service and restaurant uses.
- 290-unit multi-family residential apartments in eight separate buildings off Long Shoals Road adjacent to T.C. Roberson High School and the Zeugner Recreation Center. The parcel addresses are 55 Miami Circle and 70 Allen Ave. The Miami Circle property is currently home to a mobile home park with 55 rental units, all of which are proposed to be removed to make way for the development.
- 45 residential units on 1.85 acres known as 3, 5 and 99999 Atkins St., which intersects with Hendersonville Road in South Asheville south of Skyland Baptist Church.
The meeting will take place on Wednesday, May 4 at 5:00 p.m. in the first floor conference room at City Hall. A pre-meeting to review the agenda will begin at 4:30 p.m.
Documents and staff reports are available here.
The next meeting of P&Z will take place June 1 at 5:00 p.m.