Asheville hotel moratorium? City Council wants to talk about it


A hotel under construction on Meadow Road in Asheville./ photo by Jason Sandford

An Asheville City Council committee will discuss whether to install a moratorium on hotel construction in Asheville at the Aug. 29 meeting of the Planning & Economic Development Committee.

Councilwoman Julie Mayfield made the announcement at the end of City Council’s regular meeting on Tuesday.

Mayfield said she proposed a hotel moratorium, or at least exploring the idea of one, to Mayor Esther Manheimer following City Council’s controversial June vote approving a proposal to turn Asheville’s Flatiron Building into a boutique hotel. Mayfield, who had in May expressed her opposition to the Flatiron hotel plan, changed her position and voted for it.

The committee will get a briefing on the process of adopting a moratorium on new hotels at that August meeting, Mayfield said.

“We could have moratorium in place well before the end of the year in order to give us the breathing room we need in order to have conversation” about the impact of hotels and increased tourism on the city, she said.

“Some people will love that, some people will hate that, but that’s where we’re headed,” Mayfield said.

Here’s a snapshot of the Asheville area hotel construction boom: from 2015 to 2018, about 1,575 new hotel rooms opened in Buncombe County. At the start of this year, tourism officials estimated another 500 hotel rooms would open by December in Buncombe County. As of January 2019, there were 80 hotels in Buncombe County.

New hotel construction was centered in Asheville’s central business district when the construction boom began, but it has since spread to other commercial corridors such as Hendersonville Road and Brevard Road. The Biltmore Village area has seen significant activity, as well.