Members from the Government Affairs Committee are on the Development Customer Advisory Group (DCAG) for the Asheville City Development Services Center. This group was formed to provide feedback to the city on policy and procedures pertaining to development activities within the city limits.
Here are the highlights from our latest meeting, held Tuesday, Oct. 22nd.
- Tree Protection Standards:
The city is working to develop tree protection standards as part of the new overall Comprehensive Plan. This plan is looking at several factors that will determine the scope for tree protection on each site. Those factors will include things such as lot size, management area the development is in (urban, river area, ridge, slope, etc.), as well as size of tree and tree species.
This plan looks as if it will primarily affect commercial properties and large-scale developments as opposed to individual residential lots, although there may be a residential tree protection component triggered if a lot is above a certain size, 1 acre or greater, for example.
Development services hopes to have a draft plan to City Council for review by March 2020.
- Noise Ordinance:
Formation of the new City of Asheville Noise Ordinance is still in progress. Noise complaints are the number one complaint received by the Asheville PD and the city. City staff met with several members of the business community several months ago and are now working on the language. Focus is on less subjective ways of measuring noise levels, what is a nuisance, and creating clearly definable limits for different areas of the city, ie: downtown, Mission hospital area, Montford, Kenilworth, etc. Draft is supposed to be coming in November. Again, not much will change for residential builders. Hours of operation will still be from 7 to 7. Permits for afterhours work are available.
- TCO improvement process:
The city is trying to improve the TCO and Temp Utility Process. The goal of improving the TCO process is largely for multi-unit buildings where buildings are finishing at different times. City is considering having separate TCO permits that can be issued for individual units or buildings’ TCO’s.
The city is also looking to going back to issuing set meter approvals when final mechanical inspections are passed. This means single-family residences will ‘automatically’ get power and gas meters set upon inspection, and not have to apply for Temporary Utilities. All residential builders should welcome this.
- Level One Review Update:
Residential applications are almost entirely online now. MSD is on board as well. Water meter applications continue to be a sticking point because of the WAV flags, and many people not knowing where to put a water meter. The city is working on ways to streamline this further, but aren’t there yet.
Commercial online applications and submittal are coming soon, with one concern brought up being file size of plans and uploading issues to the Development Services server. More to come.
- Driveway Inspections:
New complaints were brought forward about the process of driveway preliminaries and finals for residential lots. The picture-perfect drawings including radius and slope from the city are almost never achievable, and the city grading inspectors agreed. Development services does not make those standards, they come from the City of Asheville Streets department at City Hall. Nancy Watford at DS sees a clear correlation from the City’s highly improbable requirements and the number of Driveway Modification Requests obtained to circumvent those requirements for site conditions. This is a clear issue of ‘all the good lots are gone’ and the city will need to either relax the rules or give inspectors more leeway for site-specific enforcement.
Interested in joining the government affairs committee contact Megan at ashevillehba.com.