Asheville City Hall


CAN and the City Establish Significant New Neighborhood Meeting Requirements

For more than a year, the Coalition of Asheville Neighborhood’s Government (CAN) Relations Committee held negotiations with City staff from the Development Services Department and Planning and Urban Design on changes to the prerequisite neighborhood meeting developers are required to hold prior to submitting their project plans to the city.

These changes will bring more consistency, transparency and citizen input to the neighborhood meetings. More importantly, these changes will formalize the neighborhood meeting as part of the City’s development review and approval process. As a result, if a developer doesn’t comply with the new neighborhood meeting requirements, the City’s Technical Review Committee, which approves 80% of all development projects, can place a hold on a development project until all of those elements are met.

The centerpiece for these new changes is the Neighborhood Meeting Guide. The Guide lays out expectations for how developers should notify the City about an impending neighborhood meeting, notifying property owners of an impending neighborhood meeting, scheduling and setting up the meeting, conducting the meeting, and reporting the meeting to the City.

In turn, the Guide gives neighborhoods and residents a detailed template for how these meetings should be run. It provides neighborhood associations and residents more of an opportunity to ask developers questions and to make comments and suggestions.

Some important things to know about the Guide:

  • The first version of the Guide, which is managed on the Technical Review Committee website is live.
    Please go to the link and familiarize yourself with all of the elements and information in the Neighborhood Meeting Guide and the other documents mentioned below. 
  • When the City gets a notice from a developer of an impending neighborhood meeting, in addition to the letter developers send out to adjacent property owners, the City will notify the neighborhood association contact person of the impending meeting.
    It’s critically important to make sure that each neighborhood association contact person is signed up to receive the neighborhood meeting notices from the City. You can sign up on SimpliCity to get email notifications by going here Simplicity.  

Developers will be required to notify the City of an impending neighborhood meeting 14 days prior to holding the meeting.

SignThis template standardizes the information a developer must include on a sign that a developer is required to post advertising the neighborhood meeting. The sign will include a barcode that residents can use on their smartphone, which will take them to a page on Simplicity with the same information as it appears on the sign.

Again, this is a template that standardizes the Neighborhood Meeting Summary Report that developers are required to submit, along with all other related project documents, to the Technical Review Committee, which reviews and approves more than 80& of all development projects.

Important information about the report:

  • This information includes any comments, suggestions, objections, or support, from neighborhood associations and residents about the project.
  • The Neighborhood Meeting Summary Report and any accompanying audio recording of the meeting will be part of the official TRC project documentation. 
  • Although concerns raised by neighborhood associations and residents and recorded in the neighborhood meeting report will not, by law and the UDO, be a determinate factor in whether the TRC approves or rejects a developments proposal, the City’s Neighborhood and Community Engagement Manager, a position that is now part of the TRC, will make sure that the comments/concerns/position of the neighborhood is part of the TRC record.
  • Should a developer seek a Conditional Zoning (CZ) request that requires a City Council hearing and approval, the information in the Neighborhood Meeting Summary Report will be part of the City staff presentation, especially any concerns, suggestions, objection or support for the project.

In addition to the Neighborhood Meeting Guide and associated documents, the City and CAN put together a list of amendments to the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) that will further strengthen the neighborhood meeting requirements.

These UDO amendments will be part of Phase II of thmis project and will go to City Council for approval later this year.

The following are the UDO amendments, with those of special importance in bold:  

  • A statement is added that "The meeting shall be held in accordance with guidelines published by the City staff" adding strength to our other changes.
  • Text requiring notification of neighborhood associations registered with the City has been added.
  • Notice requirements have been changed from 10 days to 14 days.    
  • The requirement to register the neighborhood meeting with the City at least 14 days ahead of time.
  • Requirements for the use of standard templates are added.
  • Outside of the CBD, the radius for required notifications is proposed to change from 200 to 400 feet.

CAN would like to give a special mention to one of its neighborhood association members, The Haw Creek Community Association, for its impetus in getting this project to substantially improve the developer-required neighborhood meeting off the ground.


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