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Under stay-home order, city drops information sessions on big projects

Count broad-based public input meetings as another casualty of the coronavirus shutdown.


Although the city of Hendersonville has some huge projects in its in-box, homeowners, other neighboring property owners and citizens at large won't get the opportunity anytime soon to comment on them in person.

All neighborhood compatibility meetings have been postponed until further notice, the city announced last week, while staff  develops additional options for virtual and remote meeting access for future neighborhood compatibility meetings. The Department of Development Assistance schedules the meetings in a more informal setting to allow developers to explain big projects and answer questions. The projects go next to the Planning Board for a review and recommendation and to the City Council for final action. Both boards hold public hearings before a discussion and vote.

A neighborhood compatibility meeting had been scheduled for April 28 for the Universal at Lakewood project, a proposed multi-family development of 291 homes on 29 acres surrounding the U.S. Postal Service annex on Lakewood Road. The application is for a conditional rezoning. The Department of Development Assistance is notifying  property owners that the public input meeting on the conditional use permit is postponed. The city will also notify them of any rescheduled meeting.

Of even broader interest is the proposed 200,000-square-foot hotel-condo development surrounding the historic Cedars hotel at the corner of North Church Street and Seventh Avenue West. The applicant, the Shipman family, had hoped to have a neighborhood compatibility next month, Planning Board meeting in June and City Council review in July, project architect Tamara Peacock said. That schedule is in doubt because no one knows when larger gatherings can resume.