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Sec. 7-9-3. Downtown Design Review Overlay District.
(a)   Purpose. Downtown design review assists in protecting the downtown local architectural heritage and in the preservation of the considerable economic investments that have occurred over the years. The downtown design review process seeks to encourage renovation and new development in a manner that will promote visual harmony, enhance the historical integrity, and develop creative design solutions. While the design guidelines will not dictate architectural styles, they will suggest a variety of design options for achieving compatibility within the designated boundaries.
(b)   Establishment. There is hereby established a Downtown Design Review District as follows:
Beginning at the intersection of Chestnut Street and Furman Street in the City of Asheville and running thence westerly along Chestnut Street to Elizabeth Place; then southerly along Elizabeth Place to Starnes Avenue; thence westerly along Starnes Avenue to Flint Street; thence southerly along Flint Street to Cherry Street; thence westerly along Cherry Street to Montford Avenue; thence northerly along Montford Avenue to Hill Street; thence westerly along Hill Street to Michael Street; thence crossing Interstate Highway 240 in a southerly direction following its entrance ramp to Haywood Street; thence southwesterly along Haywood Street, crossing Patton Avenue, and continuing southwesterly along Haywood Street to Knoxville Place; thence southeasterly along Knoxville Place to Hilliard Avenue; thence easterly along Hilliard Avenue to South French Broad Avenue; thence southerly along South French Broad Avenue to Dailey Drive; thence easterly along Dailey Drive to South Grove Street; thence southerly along South Grove Street to Blanton Street; thence southerly along Blanton Street to Choctaw Street; thence easterly along Choctaw Street to Biltmore Avenue; thence northerly along Biltmore Avenue to McCormick Place; thence northeasterly along McCormick Place to South Charlotte Street, thence northerly along South Charlotte Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Drive; thence northeasterly along Martin Luther King Jr. Drive to Mountain Street; thence easterly along Mountain Street to College Street; thence due north to Interstate Highway 240; thence westerly along Interstate Highway 240 to its intersection with a southerly projection of Furman Avenue; thence northerly along Furman Avenue to the point of beginning.
(c)   Boundaries. The Asheville Downtown Commission shall be and is hereby authorized to divide the Downtown Design Review District into the following boundaries as it may find appropriate:
(1)   Core area. The centralmost portion of the downtown area, wherein the greatest concentration of properties exist which reflect the unusual character and identity for the downtown area.
(2)   Gateway corridors. Properties along major streets that lead into the core area and establish a sense of character for the downtown area.
(3)   Periphery. That portion of the Downtown Design Review District not included in the core area or gateway corridors.
The official Downtown Design Review District map can be reviewed in the planning and development department and at the permitting center.
(d)   Authority to establish guidelines for new construction and rehabilitation. The Asheville Downtown Commission shall be and is hereby authorized to establish guidelines for new construction and rehabilitation in the Downtown Design Review District, including new construction, rehabilitation, illumination, signs, color, painting and cleaning, and landscape and site design. The Asheville Downtown Commission may establish different guidelines for each of the three categories of property within the Downtown Design Review District.
(e)   Review of work requiring permits, review, or variance. All construction work that requires a building, sign, zoning, or demolition permit, or a variance, must be submitted to the planning and development department for review prior to the issuance of the permit. Routine maintenance shall not be subject to review, but procedures for cleaning and painting buildings must be reviewed. In addition, proposed exterior illumination, erection of fences and walls, and parking lot modifications must be reviewed.
(f)   Application for design review. Each person desiring to undertake an activity which is subject to review pursuant to this section shall submit to the planning and development department a written application for design review. In the case of new construction, rehabilitation construction, illumination, signs, landscape or site design, the application shall be accompanied by plans sufficient in detail to describe the proposed undertaking. In the case of applications for review regarding color, painting and cleaning, the application shall be accompanied by such written statement as may be required to describe sufficiently the proposed undertaking.
(g)   Review of applications for design review. Applications for design review shall be scheduled for review by the planning and development department and the Asheville Downtown Commission as follows:
(1)   Minor works, as defined in subsection 7-5-10(a)(1), shall be reviewed and processed by the planning and development department staff.
(2)   For design review applications involving new construction over 5,000 square feet in size, significant rehabilitation, and site design and demolition, the Asheville Downtown Commission shall review the application at its first regular meeting immediately following the filing of the application and supporting documentation, without the necessity of giving notice of a public hearing.
(h)   Recommendations on the design. The Asheville Downtown Commission shall make recommendations regarding the design of the undertaking proposed by the applicant based upon the guidelines adopted by the downtown commission.
(i)   Implementation of plans according to recommendations. Applicants are strongly encouraged by the city council to implement their plans for such activities within the Downtown Design Review District in accordance with the recommendations of the Asheville Downtown Commission.
(Ord. No. 2369, § 1, 5-27-97; Ord. No. 2624, § 2, 10-12-99)