During its first meeting of 2011, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners plans to consider a new work-force housing policy, a new park, a rezoning request and more.
The board has been working on drafting a work-force rental housing policy since October, when Frontier Syndicate unsuccessfully requested $1.8 million in tax breaks for its Montford Commons development. The policy that’s up for a vote on Jan. 4 defines work-force housing as costing no more than 30 percent of household income for a family earning between 80 and 140 percent of the median for the area (currently $55,400, according to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development figures). The goal is to assist police officers, nurses, teachers and other workers with household incomes between $44,300 and $77,560, who might otherwise have trouble finding adequate housing at affordable rents.
The draft outlines a variety of tools for encouraging such projects, including grants, tax breaks and deferred construction loans that would be funded by the increased annual tax revenues resulting from the construction of the new rental housing. The incentives would be considered on a case-by-case basis, and applicants would have to provide at least 50 residential units that only full-time county residents could rent.
The board will also consider a proposal to purchase a 30 acre tract of land in the Mills Gap and Royal Pine neighborhoods that the county would use to create a new park. The landowners are willing to sell the parcel for $300,000 – about half its market value – on the condition that it can only be used for recreation. The Buncombe County Parks, Greenways and Recreation Services is hoping the board will allocate approximately $125,000 to $170,000 in county funds to buy the land and to make infrastructure improvements. The rest of the funding would come from a state Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant.
In other business, the board plans to consider a rezoning request to allow more varied residential use on a .70 acre parcel of land along Riceville Road. If passed, the land would then be zoned to house a mobile home or a mobile home park. Both the County Planning Department and the Planning Board recommend approving the request, saying it would be consistent with other housing in the area.
The board will meet at 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, January 4, in the commissioner’s chambers, located at 30 Valley St. A short pre-meeting review of the agenda will begin at 4:15 p.m.