Asheville moves to ban new hotels for a year

By Pete Kaliner

August 30, 2019

If you can't figure out how to force the kind of development you want, just ban the kind you don't want. The City Council's Planning and Economic Development Committee did exactly that yesterday - recommending a moratorium on any new hotel in Asheville. It was a unanimous vote by the three council members who serve on the committee.

You can find a link to the presentation here.

Obviously, hotels are an easy target for the ignorant, the emotional, the infantile, and politicians. After all, who is the constituency for hotels? A few owners? Some developers? People who visit once or twice a year are not going to lobby for more options. They won't even know the moratorium is being imposed. They'll just notice how the cost of staying here keeps getting more expensive with fewer rooms are available to book. And then they'll go somewhere else for their long weekend.

Steered by a political base that is animated by class warfare and identity politics, these hoteliers are deemed to be "gentry," and, as such, are an attractive whipping boy that allows the moral preening required to sate the mob. Council members took control of approvals for large projects because voters are complaining about the number of tourists coming to town and subsidizing every resident to the tune of $380.

City staff recommends a one-year moratorium on new hotels because the City "lacks concrete policies, strategies and tools to effective manage the impacts of these uses." This has created "uncertainty for developers, staff and community members." It has created an atmosphere that is "adversarial and sometimes hostile."

To be clear - the hostility will not be alleviated by new hotel zoning guidelines. Because the hostility is born out of opposition to change, growth, capitalism, tourism, and the kind of tourist that comes to Asheville (ie: white and wealthy).

A moratorium is not going to solve this issue.

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