Business pushes back as Council OKs Urban Place Zoning

Where some people see a parking lot, others see the potential for affordable housing.

The latter perspective is what some members of Asheville City Council had in mind Sept. 28 as they approved new zoning rules that will loosen building requirements for large commercial developments if property owners add residential units. 

Council members voted 4-2 to approve an update to the definition of the Urban Place Zoning district in the city’s Unified Development Ordinance. Sandra Kilgore and Antanette Mosley opposed the amendment, while Mayor Esther Manheimer recused herself due to the retainment of her employer, The Van Winkle Law Firm, by several property owners impacted by the change. 

According to a staff report, the new zoning district will encourage more mixed-use development and walkability in areas currently dominated by big-box stores, such as Walmart and Ingles, and their associated parking lots. Housing would be required for commercial…

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