A development hoping to bring almost 200 residential units to the former Fuddruckers on Charlotte Street is moving forward after a July 19 vote by Asheville’s Technical Review Committee with a newly updated design and lingering traffic questions.
Kassinger Development Group is seeking the rezoning for the Oakhurst development, a planned four-story, 191-unit, mixed-use development, which still has to go before the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission Aug. 4, and ultimately Asheville City Council.
New renderings filed with the city show an updated look that developer Payne Kassinger said was changed in response to feedback from neighbors and city staff.
He said they were leaning toward having a more uniform look for the street, given plans for the lot across Charlotte Street and the nearby King James Building.
Plans on file with the city list 191 units on the 2.33-acre site, but Kassinger said the final number will be in the 180s.
Developers need the conditional zoning to allow for the higher density, and the new commercial expansion district the site would be rezoned for allows for up to 50 units when affordable housing is included.
A traffic study says the completed project will bring an estimated 1,699 new daily trips to the area, which helped spur a demonstration showing potential impacts, but questions raised at the meeting about an unloading area for trucks and the site’s entrance on Charlotte Street will have to be answered ahead of the Aug. 4 planning board meeting.
Ken Putnam, transportation director for Asheville, said one “fairly major red flag” was the planned driveway into the development on Charlotte Street, which he said could conflict with southbound traffic trying to turn left on Chestnut Street.
That could necessitate a right-in and right-out only driveway, he said, and engineer Nick Bowman with Davis Civil Solutions, said the traffic study discussed a dedicated left-turn lane there for the development.
During the meeting, Kassinger said he’d prefer to put the entrance elsewhere to not have it be right-turn only.
Bowman said they’ll get more information to the city about how much traffic is expected to queue there ahead of the August planning board meeting.
One option, he said, would be an exclusive left turn lane for the development, though Putnam said city staff weren’t sold on the idea.
Another traffic issue that will need to be worked out ahead of that meeting is a planned truck loading and unloading area off Charlotte Street.
Trucks cannot back in or out onto the road, park on the road to unload, nor use the road for parking maneuvers, Putnam said, leaving developers to work out a new solution that Bowman said may include smaller trucks accessing the planned interior parking garage.
“We’ve already brought it down to … two lanes of travel and one turn lane,” Putnam said, of Charlotte Street.
The commission voted to proceed with more information to be supplied before the planning board meeting about loading and unloading plans that comply with the city’s Unified Development Ordinance and other rules.
Charlotte Street overlay, new address
The project site, currently zoned community business, is in the Charlotte Street Overlay District, which adds some additional design standards, said principal planner Shannon Tuch.
But the project could deviate from some of those standards through the conditional zoning process, she said.
The overlay allows for two-story buildings with a 6,000-square-foot footprint and a total 12,000 gross square feet, she said, and “this project significantly exceeds that.”
The height and square footage do comply with the commercial expansion district, Tuch said.
She noted the maximum 50 unit-per-acre limit on density in the commercial expansion district, which is allowable with affordable units.
Developers are proposing 20%, or 36-38 units depending on final plans, be set aside as affordable units.
City code allows 50 instead of 20 units per acre if 20% of the units are deed-restricted for 20 years at 80% of the area median income, set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
For a two-person household, 80% of the AMI is $48,100, and for a four-person household, it’s $60,100.
According to the city, the maximum monthly rent with utilities included for a two-bedroom apartment that’s set for 80% AMI would be $1,353.
Stuart Rohrbaugh,emergency address coordinator with the city, noted that the existing building’s address is 130 Charlotte St., but the new building would be assigned a new address of 120 Charlotte St.
Going forward, the city will refer to the project as 120 Charlotte St., and Bowman said he’ll go ahead and update the name on updated plans submitted to the city.
The Asheville Planning and Zoning Commission meets 5 p.m. Aug. 4 at City Hall.
Derek Lacey covers health care, growth and development for the Asheville Citizen Times. Reach him at [email protected] or 828-417-4842 and find him on Twitter @DerekAVL.