The Haywood Road Corridor in Asheville is a primary connector between the French Broad River and Patton Avenue; an important highway entry to downtown. It serves as the heart of West Asheville, a community of generally small-lot single-family neighborhoods built mostly in the first half of the 20th Century. The Haywood Road Corridor contains predominantly smaller/walking scale businesses, and is home to many independent and unique shops, restaurants, and cafes. After a period of decline, the walkable scale of this area began to attract younger families, and during the past decade Haywood Road has seen an upsurge in investment in both the renovation of existing historic buildings as well as new business startups by local residents.
While these changes brought about many opportunities, they presented new challenges as well. In response, City staff began meeting with local residents and business owners to discuss the successes of Haywood Road as well as opportunities for improvement. Meeting attendees evaluated the potential for streetscape and pedestrian improvements along Haywood Road that would strengthen the recent positive changes occurring in the neighborhood. In addition, the existing zoning along the corridor was studied to consider its relevance to the community’s new expectations for future development and vitality. This work resulted in a Vision Plan for the corridor that is near completion. This Vision Plan focuses on five primary areas of interest to the community:
- Streetscape and Transportation
- Zoning and Land Use and Community Character
- Economic Development
- Historic Preservation
When the Asheville City Council approved funding for an initial “form-based code” project, with a neighborhood commercial corridor acting as the demonstration area, the Haywood Road Corridor was selected because of the extensive visioning process already completed by the community. Therefore, the primary focus of this project is to work with the community using that vision for land use and transportation as the basis for the form-based project.
The project team consisting of city staff, a steering committee, other stakeholders, and city elected and appointed officials are working to create a code and associated documents that will be adopted and implemented for this corridor. The resulting plan and code will coordinate with and reflect policies in the 2025 Comprehensive Plan, the policies within the City Council Strategic Plan, the Sustainability Management Plan, and other pertinent adopted plans, initiatives, and applicable regulations.