The River Arts District’s last property tax assessment was in 2006. It got skipped over in 2010. This was largely in due to the depressed housing market and lack of qualified property sales, both of which lead to reduced or unchanged values. However, the state laws require assessments every eight years, or if there is a 15 percent change in the market.
During the 2006 assessment, the River Arts District was viewed as one neighborhood. The properties included stretched from the Norfolk-Southern rail yard on Meadow Road to the northern end of Riverside Drive at the Broadway/I-240 intersection. According to Gary Roberts, Buncombe County’s tax director, this year the one neighborhood will be split into seven to 10 separate areas that haven’t yet been defined.
Splitting up the area ensures that a more complete and accurate scope of the River Arts District’s value is attained. It will also stand as an economic measure of growth and development over the past few years.
“The city has placed new sidewalks, new roads, greenways and landscaping,” Roberts said. “These were not factored in to the last assessment.”
Pedestrian and transportation development in the RAD has come in waves, if you were to look at the district as one parcel. For example, the Grainger property on the Broadway end of Riverside Drive doesn’t benefit from the sidewalks placed on Depot Street. The dog park isn’t enhanced by a roundabout and Wedge’s sale doesn’t inflate the value of the Riverview Station. Splitting up the neighborhood will help the valuation stay as fair as possible.
As for property transfers, Roberts says that the county will only look at qualified market sales from 2006 to 2012. “Qualified” entails the sale of a building at its true market value. That means a seller and a buyer negotiated a fair, market-based deal. A family member selling a property to another family member, for example, would be a non-qualified market sale.
Amid the tax lingo and economic worry there is good news for RAD residents: The New Belgium Brewery’s purchase and overall investment will not affect this assessment cycle. “It had economic development built into it,” Roberts said, “so it’s not fair to use that as a sale. He added that the facility will also serve a different interest than other District properties.