Asheville City Council passed a motion Tuesday setting a Sept. 24 public hearing to consider a temporary moratorium on hotel development approvals within the City of Asheville. This moratorium would place a temporary hold on hotel development in Asheville for up to one year.
In a Sept. 10 presentation to Council, City Attorney Brad Branham and Planning Director Todd Okolichany laid out the scope and purpose of the moratorium to Council.
The purpose of the moratorium would be to allow staff and the community time to study and consider the impact of hotels, and to develop policies for analyzing future hotel developments.
During the moratorium, the City would first contract with a panel of professionals with expertise in complex land use planning and development issues. During the second part of the moratorium analysis would be gathered as part of a public engagement process to include community forums to solicit input on possible policy recommendations, strategies and tools.
Once the public input and analysis are complete, staff would then draft recommendations for City Council’s consideration. The expected outcome would be better land use policies, tools and strategies to more effectively analyse and regulate hotel development in the City of Asheville.
But there’s a process to get us there — a legal one that requires two meetings, with the second one to include a public hearing before Council can adopt an ordinance to install a moratorium.
The staff-recommended moratorium is for one year.
Why is this a concern? Since 2015, 1,344 hotel rooms have opened in Asheville out of approximately 2,761 total rooms that have been approved. Community members, staff and Council have expressed concerns about the impact of hotels and about the City’s need for more concrete policies to regulate hotel development.
So, Sept. 10 Council put into motion a “time out” if you will, so the City can study the issue, discuss it as a community, gather expertise from national experts, and identify potential policies Council may engage to better regulate hotel development in the future.
Find the staff presentation about the moratorium to Council at this link.