Hotel Development Study

Happening Now


New ​Hotel Development Regulations​ Adopted February 23, 2021​

At their meeting on February 23, 2021, the Asheville City Council adopted new hotel development regulations that take effect immediately. The Hotel Moratorium also expired on February 23, 2021.

City staff from Planning and Urban Design will report back to City Council after 6 months with a practical assessment  of the new regulations.

The new regulations include three primary components, outlined below:

  • New hotel development regulations, restricting hotels to appropriate areas with zoning standards designed to offset impacts and meet key community goals;
  • A strong incentive to incorporate high priority public benefits, such as affordable housing, living wages and green building elements into a hotel project; and,
  • A design review process that promotes (or preserves) quality architecture and building design, and enhances place making.

To review the details of the new regulations follow this link: Hotel Development Text Amendments

For a flow chart of the development process follow this link: Process Flow Chart

To see the adopted  Hotel Overlay map follow this link: Hotel Overlay Map

To review the  adopted Public Benefits Table follow this link: Public Benefits Table

The former Downtown and Riverfront Design Review process is changing with the adoption of Ordinance No. 4855 on February 23rd by the Asheville City Council.  This ordinance amended the city’s Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) related to hotel regulation and development review processes, and included the establishment of a new joint Design Review Committee (DRC) for all projects in designated design review areas (River, Downtown & all of the Hotel Overlay outside of these areas).  The Asheville City Council will appoint eight of the nine members with four members selected from the Downtown and Riverfront Commissions each (8 seats total).

The Boards and Commissions Committee will meet on April 13th to review applications.  The Committee will then make a recommendation to the Asheville City Council who will review the resource list to consider appointments.  Appointments are tentatively scheduled to occur at the April 27th regular City Council meeting. The new joint Design Review Committee will hold its first meeting in May 2021. 





Asheville has experienced an influx of new hotel development over the past few years and community concern has been mounting over the impacts resulting from this influx, represented by projects that are currently both under construction and in the pipeline. Concerns include the geographic clustering of development downtown, the quality and design of the construction, the effects on the land use mix,  the impacts to City infrastructure and services and a general concern about the impacts of tourism on the Asheville community.

The city currently lacks concrete policies, strategies and tools to effectively manage or regulate hotels. The lack of clear direction in the Asheville City Code and the Living Asheville Comprehensive Plan has resulted in uncertainty for developers, staff and community members. Consequently, on September 24, 2019, the Asheville City Council approved a hotel moratorium, pausing hotel development in the city. The moratorium will allow the city time to undertake a professional planning analysis with the help of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) with the purpose of developing recommendations for enhanced land use policies and improved tools and strategies to better plan for and regulate hotel development, and to provide clearer direction to the development community.

Utilizing a Technical Assistance Program Panel (TAP) process, ULI evaluated the issues associated with tourism and hotel development, with the goal to quantify the impacts of new hotel development and obtain a better understanding of all the concerns before presenting their findings on best practices tools and strategies to deal with the issues.

The TAP process was kicked off with a visit from the ULI panel who toured Asheville before holding a series of listening sessions with the public and stakeholder groups on January 9, 2020.

City staff also prepared the following briefing book to familiarize the panel with the issues.










The panel returned on January 30, 2020 to present their findings and recommendations.

Below is a recording of the presentation:

City Council held a work session on February 25, 2020 to discuss the ULI recommendations and provide staff with direction on the next steps.

Below is a recording of the work session:


The final  ULI TAP report is now available with some follow-up thoughts from the panel in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic.












Supporting Documents

Asheville City Council Meeting – February 23, 2021

Staff Memo – February 23, 2021

Asheville City Council Meeting – February 9, 2021

Hotel Development Standards Staff Report – February 9, 2021

Hotel Overlay District Map Staff Report – February 9, 2021

Asheville Planning and Zoning Commission – February 5, 2021

Asheville Planning and Zoning Commission February 3, 2021

September 2 Planning and Zoning Hotel Development Regulations Presentation

October 13 City Council Work Session

October 27 City Council Work Session

City Council  Work Session October 13 Slide Show

City Council October 27 Work Session Slide Show

Hotel Districts Map (PZC 9/2/20)

Hotel Districts Map (post survey)

Hotel Study FAQs

Hotel Study Background Video
Please review this video to learn more about the proposed hotel development regulations.

Hotel Study Map
Proposed hotel overlay map for public comment. To comment on this map please take the survey at the top of the page.

Final ULI Tap Report

Post TAP Panel Comments

Staff Presentation – February 23, 2020

Staff Presentation – January 30, 2020

ULI TAP Recommendations – January 30, 2020

ULI Presentation – January 9, 2020

Hotel Development Briefing Book

Moratorium Ordinance

Presentation to Planning and Economic Development Committee – August 29, 2019



Contact Information

Stacy Merten, Principal Planner


Updated 3/16/2021

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