No hotel approval applications will go before City Council for a year, under a hotel moratorium approved by Council at their Sept. 24 meeting.
City staff will use this time to work with the Urban Land Institute Charlotte on a planning process to include two community engagement sessions, analysis of the hotel industry, assessment of impacts, research of best practices, and a report on best land use practices and policy recommendations for hotel development.
Council’s action comes in the wake of a wave of hotel applications during the past few years. Since 2015, 1,344 hotel rooms have opened in the city out of 2,761 total rooms that have been approved. Of that, approximately 39% of have been approved in the Central Business District.
Council’s ordinance imposing a temporary moratorium on new hotel development states that “the City finds that it presently lacks a clear development strategy regarding hotels, and needs to develop a set of review criteria that allows the City to account for the negative impacts of proposed hotel developments.”
“These negative impacts include, but are not limited to:
- The overburdening of City infrastructure as a result of hotels being clustered downtown;
- The quality of hotel developments including design;
- Lower than average wages paid by hotel employers;
- The displacement of certain alternative land uses by hotel projects, including affordable housing and office uses; and
- Impacts on the property values of properties adjacent to hotels.”
Further, the ordinance states, “the lack of direction in the Asheville City Code and Living Asheville Comprehensive Plan for evaluating hotel uses results in uncertainty for developers, staff and community members, while these current conditions have resulted in an adversarial and sometimes hostile climate in the community.”
Following the public process and analysis, City staff will come back to Council with recommendations for development and approval of appropriate land use policies, strategies, tools and regulations to apply to new hotel development.