The roof of Asheville City Hall.

Haywood Street hotel back on Council’s agenda for Jan. 24

Asheville City Council will consider another large hotel for downtown Asheville at its meeting on Jan. 24. With 185 rooms in a nine-story building at 192 Haywood St., the proposed Embassy Suites Hotel is the type of project that has generated widespread public attention and no small measure of controversy — and which Council seems hard-pressed to curb under existing zoning regulations.

Oralene Graves Anderson Simmons, founder of Asheville's Martin Luther King Jr. annual prayer breakfast, accepts a proclamation from the mayor of Jan. 14-16 as Martin Luther King Jr. Days in the city. This year's prayer breakfast is sold out, said Simmons. Photo by Virginia Daffron

Council approves annexation­, hears good news about Housing Authority program

On Jan. 10., Asheville City Council approved the free downtown shuttle service offered by Slidr, a request to voluntarily annex a 4.8-acre parcel in South Asheville and an amendment to the zoning approval for the RAD Lofts housing development on Roberts Street. Council also agreed to move forward with a study of voters’ attitudes about district elections for positions on City Council.

Seal_of_Asheville,_North_Carolina

Council likely to postpone hearing on Haywood Street hotel

The public hearing scheduled for Council’s Tuesday, Jan. 10 meeting on the zoning request for a 185-room Embassy Suites Hotel at 192 Haywood St. has a “100 percent chance” of being continued until a later Council meeting, according to Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer earlier today. No alternate date has been identified for the hearing yet, said City Clerk Maggie Burleson.

John Farquhar describes "the Portland solution" to permitting homestay short-term rentals in accessory units. Photo by Virginia Daffron

Council balks at Pritchard Park fencing, maintains ADU homestay ban

City Council postponed a decision on Pritchard Park improvements, approved affordable housing grants of over $500,000 for a controversial South Asheville apartment complex, retained the city’s existing ban on homestays in accessory dwelling units and pitched in to support a planning collaboration that aims to expand access to preschool to all children in Buncombe County.

Asheville City Hall. Photo by Virginia Daffron

City Council to consider packed agenda in last meeting of 2016

Asheville City Council will tackle a long agenda in its final meeting of 2016 on Tuesday, Dec. 13. Council will consider rezoning parts of Asheland Avenue and awarding affordable housing grants to an apartment complex in South Asheville, while hearing reports on finances, fires, the Haywood Street visioning process and the use of accessory dwelling units as homestay short-term rentals.

Council member Cecil Bothwell (far right) reads a proclamation declaring Oct. 28 "Hispanic Restaurateur Day" in the city. Photo by Virginia Daffron

Communicat­ion breakdown: city staff called to account for edible park miscues

City staff were called to account for a communication failure that led to the removal of mature fruit trees at George Washington Carver Edible Park last month. City Council approved a land use incentive grant for affordable housing on Simpson Street, amended the process for requesting a variance from the city’s signage ordinance and approved modest changes to the rules that govern downtown street performances.

Sparrow Pants and Keith Smith of The Resonant Rogues busking at the Flat Iron on Battery Park Ave. and Wall St. Photo by Erin Derham, Buskin' Blues.

New busker regulation­s up for Council’s considerat­ion at Oct. 25 meeting

On Tuesday, Oct. 25, Asheville City Council will consider new rules that would limit acoustic performances in two of the city’s most popular busking areas, the sidewalk on Haywood Street in front of Woolworth Walk and the Flat Iron at Battery Park Avenue and Wall Street. Also: a grant to support affordable housing development on Simpson Street and a change to the city’s signage ordinance.