Posted Jan. 23, 2015: Some residents in East Asheville’s Oakley neighborhood are gearing up to fight a proposed mixed use development on Fairview Road that would include a 309-unit apartment complex and more than 9,700 square feet of retail space. The Flournoy Development Co. project is dubbed Biltmore Apartments.
The project would cover about 14 acres with frontage on busy Fairview Road, adjacent to both Biltmore Village and the Oakley neighborhood. The developer needs City Council to rezone the property for them to fulfill their development plan. The project, initially rejected by Asheville’s Planning and Zoning Committee, has been extensively revised.
Asheville City Council plans to discuss, and potentially vote, on the issue during its Jan. 27 meeting. City staff is recommending approval of the project as it stands now after all the back-and-forth.
The revisions still don’t satisfy some residents, who call the project a bad fit for the neighborhood. Fairview Road already has more than twice the number of injury traffic accidents of every other street of similar size in the city, they argue, with the project adding 500 more car trips per day on the road. Biltmore Village and River Road would also be impacted, they note.
Review: Site: The project site consists of two parcels with a combined area of approximately 14.02 acres (according to submitted plans) and frontage on Fairview Road and Stoner Road just outside of Biltmore Village on the edge of the Oakley neighborhood. The site is currently zoned Urban Village (rezoned in 2007 as a part of a larger development project that was never realized). Adjacent parcels are zoned Commercial Industrial (CI) to the west and north, RM-8 and UV to the east and UV to the south.
The project area is currently vacant and has mature trees across the site. Surrounding uses include commercial/industrial operations, retail, the Norfolk Southern rail line and single-family residential. The site has some steep grade changes from adjacent parcels, especially along Stoner Road and the parcel to the west, along Fairview Road. …
The applicant is proposing the construction of a mixed-use development with primarily residential units but also live-work and retail space. As indicated in the Required Reviews section of this report, the project was revised after an original plan was
not supported by staff or the Planning & Zoning Commission. Current plans indicate a total of 309 residential units with 155 1-bedroom, 122 2-bedroom and 32 3-bedroom configurations (up from 298 units previously). There are 5 live-work units identified as well as 9,742 square feet for retail uses (original plan showed 7,600 square feet for retail). …
On October 16th, the Planning & Zoning Commission reviewed the original proposal and voted unanimously NOT to support the requested conditional zoning (6-0). Commissioners agreed with staff’s recommendation on that application that the project’s design and mix of uses was not aligned with the intent of the Urban Place zoning district and had serious concerns about the retaining walls as a method of incorporating the use into the site. Additionally, the Commission did NOT approve the requested variance relating to the distance between pedestrian entrances along Fairview Road.
The project was amended to address many of the comments raised by staff and the Commission and the revision was approved by a vote of 4-1 on November 20, 2014. The dissenting vote was due to concerns about integration of the project into the area and a desire for a greater mix of uses. Additionally there was some discussion regarding the district requirement for locating entrances on each primary façade, with one Commissioner wishing to see more entrances on each building; however staff has consistently and historically applied this requirement only to street facing façades which in this case would be Fairview Road and not internal buildings as they face onto a parking field.
Since the Planning & Zoning Commission meeting, staff has met with the two adjacent residential neighbors who haveexpressed significant concern regarding the increased traffic into the neighborhood, the retaining walls and the lack of integration of the proposal into the area. Other area residents have expressed similar concerns.