Urban Centers


Happening Now

The draft Urban Place Form Code District is scheduled for final review by the Asheville Planning & Zoning Commission on September 1, 2021, as part of the Urban Centers rezoning proposal, initiated by the Asheville Department of Planning & Urban Design to help implement the transit-supportive growth strategy as identified on the Preferred Growth Scenario Map of Living Asheville: A Comprehensive Plan for Our Future.

The initial rezoning includes three nodes of property located on Tunnel Road, Bleachery Boulevard and Merrimon Avenue that are identified on the City’s Future Land Use Map (FLUM) as Urban Centers. The rezoning will also include a portion of the Asheville Mall site on South Tunnel Road, which is identified as a Town Center on the (FLUM), which will be reviewed by the Planning and Zoning Commission at their meeting on September 1, 2021.



The City’s Comprehensive Plan, Living Asheville, calls for the City to transition in a direction that strengthens urban transit corridors and connects urban centers. The vision calls for land use changes that add value and support reinvestment through denser land use patterns and enhanced multimodal transportation that improves walkability and neighborhood quality of life, as shown in the graphic below.


Less of this and more of this


The transition to a city that strengthens urban form and connects corridors will begin with rezonings at four nodes commercial corridors. The transformation aims for a greater mix of uses, including residential development. The nodes that will be affected in this project have been identified as Urban Centers on the Future Land Use map and Preferred Growth Scenario map and are located along the City’s network of higher frequency transit (bus) routes.

Building upon recent rezonings in Asheville in the River Arts District and on Haywood Road, staff will apply form-based zoning concepts that focus on the physical form as the organizing principle of the code. Form-based codes address the relationships between structures and the public realm to create regulations that are more predictable, particularly because of the greater reliance on visuals and graphics to highlight expected results.

The goal of this rezoning will be to foster higher density, mixed-use development that is economically viable, pedestrian oriented, visually attractive and contributing to the place making character of the city. Acknowledging that these sites are located in areas that are currently primarily auto oriented, in the long-term likely changes along the streets will support land use changes by providing more sidewalks, pedestrian refuge islands, bicycle facilities, street trees, improved transit facilities, and so forth.

The study areas are primarily zoned Regional Business (RB), Highway Business (HB), or River (RIV) zoning district.

For an interactive review of the project sites, click here.


Project Posters

Select a thumbnail to view a project poster


Urban Center Visual
Urban Centers
Blocks Visual
Intersections Visual
Lots Visual
Buildings Visual
Sidewalks Visual
Trees and Open Space Visual
Trees and Open Space
Parking Visual








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Zoning Standards

The draft Urban Place Form Code District for Urban Centers is available for review. As these are still in draft mode, comments are welcome. Please submit any comments to Vaidila Satvika.







July 7, 2021: Phase 1, Planning and Zoning Commission review/public hearing

August 4, 2021: Planning and Zoning Commission continued hearing to add a portion of the Asheville Mall site on Tunnel Road

September 1, 2021: Planning and Zoning Commission final vote

September 28, 2021: Phase 1, City Council public hearing

Phase II: Fall 2021



Vaidila Satvika, AICP
Department of Planning and Urban Design


Updated 8/25/2021

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