Asheville’s vision for hotel development and regulation

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Photo by @shred.sled

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The City of Asheville’s Planning and Zoning Commission met Wednesday for a presentation of new standards for hotel development and regulation. The year-long moratorium on new hotel construction ends on Sept. 24, and city officials + experts from the Urban Land Institute have been working to create a vision for development. Here’s what you need to know about the plan, which the commission will discuss on Sept. 23

A new Design Review Board, which will have nine members, will assess the plans and ensure that there’s a positive impact on the communityincluding affordable housing and living wages. They’ll also determine whether a new hotel will result in the displacement of homes or businesses in the area. The goal is to align hotel development with the city’s Comprehensive Plan, which promotes responsible, sustainable, and equitable growth. 

The approved ordinance will be an amendment to Chapter 7 of the Unified Development Ordinance, which specifies development standards + review processes for hotels. 

Once finalized, the ordinance will 

  • Support responsible growth by offsetting impacts of large developments through standards created specifically for hotels.
  • Encourage great architecture + enhance placemaking design
  • Provide a strong incentive to incorporate public benefits into large projects. The City is considering a points-based system for incentives.

Zones will also be created based on hotel size – which will be redefined in the ordinance. In the new definitions – 

  • Small hotels have seven to 35 guest rooms (and are under single management)
  • Large hotels have 36 or more guest rooms (and are under single management).

Commissions overseeing individual districts within the city (i.e., the Downtown Commission and the Riverfront Redevelopment Commission) will also be able to make recommendations to the Design Review Board for guidelines on construction, demolition, and alteration of hotel projects. 

Check out the full ordinance revision here.

The City also released a revised hotel overlay map last month. The new map reduces the areas where new hotels, both small + large, can be constructed. It also directs development outside of residential areas + encourages historical preservation and adaptive reuse of existing buildings. 

Want to leave a comment on the plan or attend the next meeting? Check the Commission’s website for options, which will be updated closer to the next meeting on Sept. 23. The agenda comment period ends at 5 p.m. the day before the meeting.

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