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