Letter writer: June 23 vote on Asheville’s accessory apartment rules should be delayed

Graphic by Lori Deaton

City Council will vote June 23 to allow 800-square-foot and larger accessory apartments to be built in all residential zoned parcels if the primary home is 1,200 square feet or larger. The accessory apartment can be taller than the primary home, up to 40 feet under the draft approved by Planning and Zoning a few weeks ago. There is no minimum lot size.

Imagine a structure 6 feet from your property line [and] 25 feet high with tenants. Maybe you like this idea, maybe you don’t. I imagine most folks are totally unaware of this proposal. Current rules limit accessory apartments to 25 percent of the size of the primary residence with a cap of 500 square feet. The new rules will change this to allow up to 70 percent of the primary residence with a cap of 800 square feet on parcels less than one acre. No distinction is made between lots an acre in size or .10 acre.

I am asking City Council to delay voting on this proposal June 23 until after a public forum is held. This issue will impact neighborhoods as much or more than short-term rentals and making changes to the noise ordinance. Both of these issues had public input forums and the rules were made better. If you feel the same, please take a quick minute or two to ask for a delay in voting and to hold a public forum. Buildings once built cannot be undone.

Here is the email address to reach all Council members:  AshevilleNCCouncil@ashevillenc.gov

[A link to the] draft approved by Planning and Zoning [can be found here: http://coablog.ashevillenc.gov/2015/06/proposed-change-to-accessory-dwelling-units-designed-to-promote-affordable-housing/….]

Here is the summary report: http://coablog.ashevillenc.gov/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Planning-Zoning-Commission-Report-ADUs.pdf

If you are concerned about this, please let City Council members know. After Tuesday, it is too late.

— David L. Rodgers

Editor’s note: A post on the city’s blog about the proposal states: “There will be a public hearing on this matter at the 5 p.m. June 23th City Council meeting in Council Chambers on the second floor of City Hall. You may comment by contacting Urban Planner Vaidila Satvika at vsatvika@ashevillenc.gov or 828-259-5798, or by testifying in person at the City Council meeting on June 23, 2015.”


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