Now Asheville City Council is poised to step in with a formal plan that will guide growth. That plan, referenced here and scheduled to be voted on at council’s meeting tonight, goes hand-in-hand with a N.C. Department of Transportation plan to realign Riverside Drive and do some other improvements.
Here are the highlights of City Council’s plan, which I’ve highlighted for emphasis:
The Riverside Drive Development Plan (RDDP):
– Recommends that the preferred renovation strategy for 14 Riverside Drive- an existing 1900 square foot building just to the north of 12 Bones restaurant- revolve around providing visitor amenities such as public restrooms and district information, and providing a place where one can always find some arts and culture programming happening
– Recommends an open space concept plan for several acres of city owned riverfront, just south and north of existing Jean Webb Park, that aligns with the RADTIP plans, leverages the arts and culture character of the district, and provides attractive
improvements to stormwater management/water quality
– Presents four massing scenarios (with corresponding fiscal analyses sketches) for new mixed-use construction, centered around the historic smokestack and former Ice House site, that suggest the potential direction for a feature redevelopment partnership
– Suggests improvements in circulation, arts and culture, preservation, and environmental stewardship that helps tie the redevelopment effort together.
Key Recommendations/Policy Considerations from the Plan
The consultants have identified the following as integral to the success of the plan:
– RADTIP implementation
– Careful development of riverfront open space amenities and greenway between 12 Bones and the Captain Bowen Bridge
– Creation of better connections between New Belgium Brewing and Riverside Drive open
– Installation of River District Wayfinding and Orientation for visitors
– Design and construction of a parking garage that connects to Roberts Street from Riverside Drive
– Development of better regulations for the area such as a Form Based Code with design guidelines
– Speedy renovation of 14 Riverside Drive as a community and visitor resource
– Maximizing the City’s development potential on property designated for higher density mixed use buildings
– Encouraging partnerships with nearby landowner and stakeholders to leverage the City’s land resource and create better development opportunities.
There’s much more about “community engagement” and “strategic operating plans,” but you can click over to read all that. This is an important plan, with City Council now clearly looking beyond the city’s central business district as a powerful economic engine.
Update: Asheville City Councilman Gordon Smith adds this regarding RAD development/economic incentives discussion on FB:
You can look forward to a broad menu of policies coming forward this autumn. In mid-October, City Council will hold a worksession to outline the options. They include, but are not limited to: Residential Density increases on Commercial Corridors, turning over city-owned land to Affordable Housing providers, fully funding the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, River District Live/Work space. I hope to set some hard targets for the number of units the city will help create or support. Those targets will be based on a Housing Needs Assessment and Market Analysis that will be completed this month. Stay tuned, and please ask advocates of affordable housing to contact their city council, write letters to the editor, and otherwise make some noise.