Building permits, job growth outlined at Asheville’s Development Forum

Large-scale development and Asheville’s fastest-growing industries were among topics discussed during the City’s Development Forum held May 15 at the US Cellular Center.

Hosted by City Manager Gary Jackson, the forum included economic updates from City staff on building permit activity as well as planning and zoning permits and employment trends. Information was also presented about the schedule for meetings and public input opportunities on the River Arts District’s upcoming form-based code project.

The City’s new SimpliCity search engine was also unveiled to the audience. The site puts City data into the public’s hands in a searchable format, including information on development and building permits.

Detailed information is included in links at the end of this article to the slides shown during the presentations by City staff. Some key highlights include:

  • Asheville had 18 large-scale development projects in the past year, including Asheville Outlets.
  • Building permits are up 66% year over year, making Asheville second only to Durham in North Carolina, according to a presentation by Heider Reiber of the Economic Development Coalition.
  • From Shannon Tuch, of the Mayor’s Development Task Force: Development Services will be expanding its hours to Monday-Friday. Currently its hours open to the public are Monday-Thursday. Timeline for expanding Development Services hours to Fridays is late-summer/early fall.
  • The River Arts District’s form-based code process includes a public workshop July 25 and Charrette Week July 25-30.


Fastest-growing industries

A snapshot of growth rates since 2012:

  • Health care and social assistance, up 11% with 3,224 jobs added.
  • Accommodation and food services, up 16% with 3,193 jobs added.
  • Retail, up 7% with 1,729 jobs added.
  • Professional, scientific and technical services, up 24% with 1,349 jobs added.


Find out more

The City of Asheville’s Office of Economic Development hosts the City Manager’s Development Forum twice a year, in May and November. The Forum — which is free and open to the public — provides members of the development community, design professionals, contractors, real estate community and citizens an opportunity to learn about current development trends, regulatory updates, and management initiatives within the City of Asheville.