Asheville City Council, along with senior city staff, held its annual planning retreat on Friday, Feb. 17 at UNC Asheville. Photo by Virginia Daffron

City Council gets personal, celebrates successes at retreat

While last year’s City Council retreat focused on strategy, this year was all about tactics. Council celebrated the successes of 2016 — including passing a $74 million bond referendum, launching an equity initiative and retaining control of the city’s water system — and outlined tweaks to how it will operate in 2017.

Buncombe County commissioners and Asheville City Council members held a special joint meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 7. Issues included energy use, public safety and more.

Whitesides questions commission­, Fryar sees window for criticism at county-city meeting

The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners and Asheville City Council held their first joint meeting in more than one year on Tuesday, Feb. 7. While it was mostly presentations and information updates, Commissioners Al Whitesides and Mike Fryar used the time to question the African-American Heritage Commission and energy efficiency, respectively.

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.