By James Harrison

The agenda was light and debate was nil at the March meeting of Asheville’s Planning & Zoning Commission, with members unanimously approving a recommendation to rezone 1.6 acres of city-owned land at the corner of Hilliard and Clingman Avenues.

The change, requested by city planners, will allow a portion of the site to become part of Asheville’s Central Business District.

City real estate manager Nikki Reid told the group that the new designation would enable the city to present the site to developers with the hope of adding at least 40 affordable housing units to the outer edge of Asheville’s downtown core.

“The true strategic goal we’re hoping to achieve is affordable housing,” Reid said, in brief remarks to the group.

The parcel, which is adjacent to Aston Park Tennis Center, also runs alongside the proposed Clingman Forest Greenway.

Before unanimously approving the measure, commission members were assured that the process for any potential development would be public, and involve outreach to the neighboring South French Broad and WECAN neighborhoods.

To read additional materials regarding the rezoning, click here.

A few”need to know” facts about the commission are:
-It’s a volunteer group, with positions appointed
-Council appoints five members, County Board of Commissioners appoints two
-Meetings are monthly
-Commission recommends development and zoning designations to council
-They shape long-term plans for the city, and serve as an advisory board to council
-Members include Kristy Carter, Jim Edmonds, Tony Hauser, Laura Berner Hudson, Karl Koon, Guillermo Rodriguez and Jeremy Goldstein

James Harrison is an Asheville native and commercial real estate broker for Whitney Commercial Real Estate. In addition to real estate, he’s covered politics for Nooga.com in Chattanooga, Tenn., and has contributed political columns and music reviews for Ashvegas. Follow James on Twitter at @jharrisonAVL

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