South Asheville vacation rental rallies support, gets unanimous approval

The Buncombe County Board of Adjustment unanimously approved a short-term vacation rental development during its meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 8. It will be located at 28 Merrills Cove Road. Photo by Dan Hesse

A proposed vacation development that previously garnered widespread opposition had a number of people speak in its favor before being unanimously approved during the Buncombe County Board of Adjustment’s meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 8.

The proposed vacation development would sit on nearly 23 acres of land in South Asheville off Merrills Cove Road. Plans call for ten cabin-style rentals and an office. An existing home will serve as a residence for developer Peter Anuar and his family. The project has received erosion and stormwater runoff permits.

Anuar said he communicated his plans with all surrounding neighbors and noted he has support from adjacent property owners to the south, east and west of the property. As someone with a landscaping background, he said, he’s committed to keeping tree removal at a minimum.

The project originally appeared before the board in October. Before the zoning request was declared ineligible for consideration at that meeting for procedural reasons, a number of nearby residents spoke against it, citing concerns about traffic, loss of trees, parties and other issues.

However, on this go-round, the project drew praise from nearby neighbors who said they had spoken with Anuar about his plans and were satisfied with the information they received.

Debbie and Ryan Waylon own property in the immediate area. The couple had asked an attorney to convey their concerns at the October meeting. “[Anuar] and his family have been responsive. We believe they will be responsible and we support the project,” said Ryan. After seeing the development’s overall footprint, the Waylons said, they feel it’s better than a potential alternative. “We think it’s lower-density than it has to be. The cabins seem upscale and nice, and he’s dedicated to not knocking down every tree in sight,” said Debbie.

In all, five people spoke in favor of the vacation rental development, saying it would help property values and would ultimately be in character with the surrounding neighborhood.

Two neighbors voiced opposition. Merrills Cove Road resident Suzane Douglas, said, “To hear that a development of that density would enhance real estate property values is a surprise to me. It’s very rural, very quiet. That’s what people are looking for.”

Ultimately the board gave the project unanimous approval and even commented on the professionalism of Anuar’s presentation.

The conditional use permit is good for five years. Anuar said he’s going to start off building two rental cabins to test the market and, depending on the response, build the remainder of the 10 allowed.

You can view the project’s footprint here.

The board also unanimously approved the following three variances:

The Board of Adjustment is slated to meet again on March 8.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Dan Hesse
I grew up outside of Atlanta and moved to WNC in 2001 to attend Montreat College. After college, I worked at NewsRadio 570 WWNC as an anchor/reporter and covered Asheville City Council and the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners starting in 2004. During that time I also completed WCU's Master of Public Administration program. You can reach me at

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.