City of Asheville to launch new Streetscape Plan requirement for Urban Projects


ADDED NEW PROCESS TO CHECKS FOR IMPROVED PLANS

To improve the city’s review process and ultimately improve public sector outcomes, the city is launching a new initiative to ensure that full and detailed streetscape plans are submitted for urban/mixed-use area development projects.

Public space is one of the most important public goods in the city. In the Central Business District alone, more than 25% of the land is public space (streets and sidewalks). These spaces are for community meetings, space design, recreation, gathering, mobility, art, trees, al fresco dining, utilities (stormwater, garbage, sewer, water, etc.), parking/shops, and much more. These are the spaces that help create, define and support our community.

NO FORMAL OR ADDITIONAL CHANGES HAVE BEEN MADE

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It is important to note that there are no formal changes to the development standards in the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) at this time, but the City is taking this step to better ensure existing requirements are demonstrated more clearly.

To that end, the city is introducing a new checklist that outlines key elements in the public space that must be included in a street plan. Designing in urban environments can be challenging as space is limited – especially with our hilly topography. The new checklist will help the development community and collaborators identify potential issues earlier in the review process, rather than later during construction when changes become even more challenging, expensive and time-consuming.

With this new tool, potential problems that could arise months in advance can be identified from the start and properly addressed. This can save time and resources months later while the work is already happening.

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The Streetscape Plan with checklist items is required as part of the initial plan submission for all Level I, Level II, Level III and Conditional Zoning projects that:

a) have an existing or proposed building that is set back from the pavement between 0 feet and 5 feet; or

b) located in the following zoning districts: Central Business District, River Arts Form District or Haywood Road Form District.

PLANNERS, JOIN US TO LEARN MORE AND BE UPDATED

City staff will host an information meeting (virtual) on 30/09/2022 at 4:00 p.m. to provide an overview of the new streetscape plan requirements and checklist. Members of the development community (architects, engineers, landscape architects, etc.) or anyone interested are invited to participate and can register here.

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The introduction of this new requirement is planned for November 1st, 2022.

Staff continually consider the need for process improvements and ways to better ensure city standards are being met. Staff are also working on multiple fronts to pursue strategies to improve public spaces in urban/mixed-use areas, including a newly formed internal urban design working group, coordinated by the Planning Department’s Urban Design & Place Strategies section, and support a Public Space Management Task Force to be restarted by the Downtown Commission.



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