P&Z approves its final big hotel

The site of a 112-room Courtyard by Marriott hotel on Meadow Road. The Planning & Zoning Commission unanimously approved the hotel application. Graphic courtesy of the city of Asheville
The site of a 112-room Courtyard by Marriott hotel on Meadow Road. The Planning & Zoning Commission unanimously approved the hotel application. Graphic courtesy of the city of Asheville

The Asheville Planning and Zoning Commission meeting of May 3, was a brief affair. Two items on the commission’s agenda — a change to a city ordinance to allow gravel parking lots in the Central Business District and zoning amendments to promote small-scale residential infill development — were pushed back to June’s meeting.

What P&Z did consider was a hotel, its last filed under the previous Level II zoning approval thresholds, which were changed by a vote of City Council on Feb. 14.

“For the public’s benefit, this is the final Level II project coming before us under the old rules,” Chair Jeremy Goldstein said. “So this is a ministerial review — meaning, if this project meets the technical requirements, then we are obligated to approve it. With the new rules going forward, any hotels over 20 rooms and anything over 100,000 square feet will be a conditional zoning with different rules. … So, this will stop here tonight and if it meets technical requirements, will be approved.”

Planner Jessica Bernstein introduced the 112-room, five-story hotel. The 26 Meadow Road site lies directly across the street from the Habitat for Humanity Home Store and Biltmore Iron & Metal Co. The hotel will sit close to the street, with parking to the sides and rear of the building. Other features of the development include a 10-foot sidewalk along Meadow Road and a 34-foot retaining wall along the embankment at the back of the property.

Bernstein said a traffic impact study was not required due to the number of rooms in the hotel and the expected number of car trips it would generate.

Nowell Henry, who lives on St. Dunstans Circle, said he only learned about the project last week. “There’s a lot of concern of this project. It just kind of slipped in under the radar for us,” Henry said. “No one in my community was aware of this happening.”

Henry said the developer’s failure to perform a traffic study demonstrated disregard for the project’s neighbors. He said people use some roads not shown on the hotel plans as shortcuts.

Goldstein asked Bernstein to outline notice requirements for the neighborhood. The previous Level II rules (under which this project fell), Bernstein said, require the developer to send letters to every resident and property owner within 200 feet of the site 10 days before the public hearing. The rules also require the developer to post a sign announcing the P&Z meeting date and time on the site. Under the new regulations, she noted, developers will have to meet with neighbors before submitting an application for a project, and they will also be required to advertise the project in advance of the city’s technical review of the project (which precedes P&Z’s review).

“The city has heard these exact types of concerns about not having more notification, and that’s why the standards are different now,” Bernstein said. “This project came in before that change.”

Denise Henry, a St. Dunstans Circle resident, also testified about her concerns about the impact of the hotel on area traffic. Denise Henry said neighborhood residents had tried talking with the Police Department about speeding in the area, but had made no progress.

Vice Chair Kristy Carter responded, “The issues that you have are there currently and the hotel itself isn’t going to bring in. It’s going to bring in some, but those issues are there.”

After some deliberation among the member of the commission, Goldstein told residents, “We hear your frustration and understand, it’s just what we’re able to do at this point in time is limited.” The commission approved the hotel unanimously.

The Meadow Road Courtyard by Marriott hotel will join several others under construction or approved in the Biltmore Village area. A Holiday Inn & Suites under construction at 190 Hendersonville Road will add 118 rooms, while a Hampton Inn directly across the street at 117 Hendersonville Road will add another 118. The Biltmore Station Hotel at 61 Thompson St. will contain 120 rooms, and the La Quinta Inn & Suites on Sweeten Creek Road approved at P&Z’s April meeting will boost the count by 76 rooms.

Altogether, with the Meadow Road hotel, the current hotel boom in the area will add 544 hotel rooms to the city’s total.

Lot rezoning

In addition to the hotel application, P&Z considered a rezoning application for a Broadway Street lot. The applicant, Hutch Kerns, asked to rezone a small portion of the property, which is now RS-8, to the same designation as the rest of the property, which is now Neighborhood Corridor District. The change will allow mixed-use development on the entire 0.18-acre parcel. The split zoning resulted from a larger 2002 city rezoning initiative, Planner Shannon Tuch explained.

“Typically when we sign zoning designations, we try to follow property lines to the extent that we can and of course for undeveloped property,” Tuch said. “Things change and sometimes these lines get adjusted.”

No member of the public commented, and the commission approved the request unanimously.

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About Kari Barrows
Production Assistant for WLOS ABC 13. UNC Asheville alumna. Freelance writer/photographer. Snapchat enthusiast. Follow me @barikarrows

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17 thoughts on “P&Z approves its final big hotel

  1. Austin Hill

    The 112 potential additional automobiles driven by tourists should help with the speeding problem.

    • MichaelB

      There will also be more ridesharing going on which, from what I have seen, puts more drivers in and around town who really are no where close to being considered professional grade drivers. But hey, with the laxicity of who we allow to be licensed on the highways of this country, whatthahayl right?
      bsummers pretty much nailed it.
      Go read what happened to Seattle. Go and hang around that ol’ ‘ho’ Charlotte, and get a feel of where “big money” is wanting to take the fair princess of the mountains.
      Please allow me to bring up another advancing problem. But wait, Michael, we’re not supposed to bring that animal to the dinner table. Guess what it is here, probably got on the bus in “the Queen city”(yea that ol’ ‘ho’ again ;-)) And you bettuh believe that dog does hunt. That is why it is here. The more innocent the better. Yes folks, the reason we sent boys to Afghanistan………heroin. Ring a bell? It is hiding under the rugs around town.
      From 10-’15 until 1-’17, I spent more time driving the streets of this town on a daily basis than most cops. It is changing, and being that do my best to keep a positive approach on life, one just cant lie about some things, cauz, “seeing is believing”. Right?
      As far as the “speeding” thing goes. Just put in more speed bumps, that cures all the traffic problems right? NOT.
      And people think Asheville has traffic problems now? Pfffft, just wait until the 15-20 year period interstate construction starts!
      And dont get me started on the pedestrian thing either. More people are going to get hurt due to lack of control.
      Spoiled children at a school with no fences around the playground. I’ve seen it, and luck does run out, eventually.
      People need to learn that we cant keep coddling everyone. Time to grow and wake up!!!!
      If given the chance to make a difference that others have squandered, it would not be the approach the “leaders”? of this city have made.

  2. bsummers

    Another couple thousand hotel rooms? Better raise the room tax again so we’ll have enough advertising money to attract the tourists to fill those rooms, which will attract more developers to build more hotels, which will lead to a glut of hotel rooms, which will drive room rates down, which will require more money to advertise for more tourists which will drive room rates up which will attract more hotels which will demand more advertising which will bring more tourists which will attract more hotels which will demand more advertising which will bring more tourists which will attract more hotels which will demand more advertising which will bring more tourists which will attract more hotels which will demand more advertising which will bring more tourists which will attract more hotels which will demand more advertising which will bring more tourists which will attract more hotels which will demand more advertising which will bring more tourists which will attract more hotels which will demand more advertising which will bring more tourists which will attract more hotels which will demand more advertising which will bring more tourists which will attract more hotels…

  3. cecil bothwell

    It’s no wonder the hoteliers oppose STRs. They’re overbuilding like mad.

    • The Real World

      Yeessss but, City Council is not in the hoteliers pocket, are they?

      In other words, they can oppose all they want but Council operates independent of specific and special interests and considers the big picture and their overall constituency, do they not?

      • Lulz

        You know what’s funny? For years now there’s been a loud voice against big corporations in the downtown area. And yet the gentrification and totally out of control spending by council is leading to exactly just that. See when all that can afford to come here is people from out of town to develop or start a business, they have no loyalties and they only thing they’re looking for is money. And with the InBev purchase, we are seeing it right out in the open. Anyone with half a brain and some knowledge of business could see this 10 years ago. But when we elect or place people in government who have never worked a real job, have only survived off the wages of others, and are totally out of touch with how markets work, well they say they don’t want corporations in and yet all those new hotels and one brewer now are owned by them. Expect to eventually see more of this play out.

        • The Real World

          “when we elect or place people in government who have never worked a real job, have only survived off the wages of others, and are totally out of touch with how markets work,” — and on a national level, you just described Bernie the Bolshevik!

    • Lulz

      Better charge me more for your downtown park where we can have drum circle part 2 for the tourist overflow from Pritchard. And that’s why you’re simply out of touch Bothwell. You’re spending money on things for the developers in both downtown and the RAD to simply take advantage of. Nor can you sit there and chide the hotel industry when council and the clique within it are causing it. Again, we brag about the local economy but the money is going where? To your park? To the greenways? Nope, those are left for the residents to pay for. Meanwhile InBev is buying and more big money corporate interest are sure to follow. Why wouldn’t they? After all, they have people like you in their back pockets.

    • Phil Williams

      LOL – I have heard Myrtle Beach referred to as “The Redneck Riviera”…..seems Asheville nowadays draws a more diverse crowd….

  4. Charlene Jones

    I never once saw the ‘re zoning signs in the lot on Broadway. Is this not the way the public is informed that a change has been requested?

  5. Helen Hyatt

    The p&z folks have obviously never driven Meadows at 5. It is a traffic nightmare. With another 100 cars on Friday afternoon, i cannot imagine. But who cares developer will never have to deal with it.

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