ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WLOS) — Asheville City Council members on Tuesday used a marathon meeting to decide the fate of the city's next proposed hotel. City Council voted down Embassy Suites, 7-0.
Embassy Suites was to be an eight-story, 185-room hotel with a 200-space parking deck. It would have been the latest addition to an area that already contains Hotel Indigo and Hyatt Place across the street. Embassy would have occupied about two acres, including the old sheriff's office on Haywood Street.
Former City of Asheville attorney Bob Oast led the team that argued for the project to be approved.
"This is not the center of downtown, it's on the edge," Oast, an attorney for the developer, said. "We think this will actually relieve some of the pressure of downtown, as far as expansion of downtown into this area."
The project was required to meet seven standards to gain approval:
1.That the proposed use or development of the land will not materially endanger the public health or safety.
2.That the proposed use or development of the land is reasonably compatible with significant natural and topographic features on the site and within the immediate vicinity of the site given the proposed site design and any mitigation techniques or measures proposed by the applicant.
3.That the proposed use or development of the land will not substantially injure the value of adjoining or abutting property.
4.That the proposed use or development of the land will be in harmony with the scale, bulk, coverage, density, and character of the area or neighborhood in which it is located.
5.That the proposed use or development of the land will generally conform with the comprehensive plan, smart growth policies, sustainable economic development strategic plan, and other official plans adopted by the city.
6.That the proposed use is appropriately located with respect to transportation facilities, water supply, fire and police protection, waste disposal, and similar facilities.
7.That the proposed use will not cause undue traffic congestion or create a traffic hazard.
"As your attorney instructed you, the findings must be based on substantial and competent evidence. If the findings are supported, the permit should be allowed," Oast told City Council.
But all council members, who were required to base their vote on the facts and not how they might feel about the booming number hotels being built, disagreed, ruling the findings were not supported, and decided the developer did not meet all of the standards required for the permit application.
It is not clear what project developers will do now. There is a chance they could take the matter to court, and contest the decision by City Council. But we have not been able to get any reaction yet.
The following is the official city document, laying-out the entire Embassy Suites project: