Zoning may not deliver the same zing as other hot-button issues in a competitive election cycle, but it’s among the most crucial discussions Asheville leaders and residents face as the city grows. Each candidate has different ideas about what to do first.
Move over, police, protests and the pandemic: At Asheville City Council’s meeting of Tuesday, Oct. 13, the focus shifts to development (at least according to the agenda).
Asheville City Council unanimously approved three amendments to Asheville’s Unified Development Ordinance at its meeting of Sept. 8. Now, tree preservation will be required in commercial and residential areas.
Environmental advocates urged Asheville City Council to adopt a series of proposals to strengthen protections for Asheville’s urban forests.
Asheville City Council will take a brief respite from conversations about policing and budgets to consider new standards for tree canopy preservation at its meeting of Tuesday, Aug. 25. Three public hearings will address different parts of the proposed standards.
Todd Okolichany, Asheville’s director of planning & urban design, said the city’s Unified Development Ordinance was in need of an extensive and holistic review. While the city has made “Band-Aid edits,” he explained, the last major revision of Asheville’s main development code took place in 1997.
Citizen activists, members of Asheville’s Tree Commission and city officials are exploring the possibility of increased oversight on how trees are managed within the city limits. But with a lack of definition in key parts of the city’s policy, and obstacles at the state level impeding regulations on private property, updating Asheville’s tree ordinances is proving to be an uphill battle.
From tiny homes to multifamily development — if a zoning tool can address Asheville’s housing shortage by promoting more infill development in residential areas, Asheville’s City Council is all for it. City planning staff got the go-ahead to draft new zoning amendments to encourage and remove barriers to infill development.
“It’s hard to imagine a document or a policy that causes more cars per immigrant despite Council’s laughable rhetoric to the contrary; and it’s no accident.”
Facing a packed agenda, Council will receive an update on its finances at its May 13 meeting as budget writing season kicks into gear.