Asheville Citizen-Times: Asheville hotel temporary building ban likely, councilwoman Julie Mayfield says (26 July 2019)

The Asheville City Council convenes for a meeting Tuesday, March 20, 2018.

But Andrew Fletcher, an Asheville musician and a member of the city’s Downtown Commission, said a moratorium is needed — though it could have been avoided.

Fletcher has consistently voted to not recommend hotel proposals as a commissioner, including a forthcoming mixed-use development with 150 hotel rooms called Create 82 Broadway. He notes it’s a project that might have received his support even five years ago but won’t now because of pressing needs for things such as residential housing and office space.

Fletcher was a vocal opponent of changing the Flatiron from small-business office space to a hotel, offering to council in May something of a litmus test for projects: If it displaces locals for tourists, “the answer should always be a simple no.”

“Because things have gotten so out of hand, it kind of requires a moratorium now,” he said. “If the city had been talking about responsible management of tourism and sustainable tourism since people had been asking for this, they might have been able to tap the brakes instead of a drastic move like a moratorium.”

Fletcher says he’s not against hotels and other lodging proposals, but thinks Asheville’s economy has become too reliant on tourism and needs to be diversified.