While 2016 statistics show increasing availability in the area’s rental housing market, Asheville renters say their choices remain limited and prices steep. Several city initiatives — including a $25 million affordable housing bond referendum approved by voters in November — aim to bolster the supply of affordable housing, while some private-sector players are pursuing similar goals.
At City Council’s first budget work session since city voters approved a $74 million bond referendum, elected officials considered how to move forward on planning for the use of the funds. In one key decision, Council members agreed to assess three properties for potential city-led affordable housing development.
“As a trailer dweller, I still have one big reason to be hopeful about Trump, which is that he will use the presidency to leverage zoning variances to build millions of high-rise apartments in liberal elite places like Montford, thus making the neighboring houses affordable to white workers like me; though to do that he will have to resist the blind trust.”
Third-quarter data released by two real estate research firms show an improving environment for Asheville metro area renters.
Third-quarter data released by two real estate research firms show an improving environment for Asheville metro area renters. After a late 2014 report showed a rental vacancy rate of less than 1 percent in Asheville and Buncombe County, local officials and renters have frequently described the area’s shortage of affordable housing as a crisis.
Asheville’s housing affordability crisis has received a lot of attention, but solving the problem demands a wide range of solutions. One set of initiatives is looking at ways private real estate investors focused on building smaller, more affordable homes to ease the housing crunch.
City Council postponed a decision on Pritchard Park improvements, approved affordable housing grants of over $500,000 for a controversial South Asheville apartment complex, retained the city’s existing ban on homestays in accessory dwelling units and pitched in to support a planning collaboration that aims to expand access to preschool to all children in Buncombe County.
The Carolinas Real Estate Investors Association will host a panel discussion on innovative models for increasing the supply of affordable housing on Monday, Nov. 14 from 6:30-9 p.m. The public is invited to attend.
“Perhaps it could be delayed and neglected for what some might claim to be sound reasons, but ultimately assets, infrastructure and development have to keep pace with growth.”
“These bonds will provide funding to build new homes and apartments all around the city that families can afford, as well as the infrastructure to connect neighborhoods to schools, work, grocery stores and parks — all at minimum risk for city residents.”
City staff were called to account for a communication failure that led to the removal of mature fruit trees at George Washington Carver Edible Park last month. City Council approved a land use incentive grant for affordable housing on Simpson Street, amended the process for requesting a variance from the city’s signage ordinance and approved modest changes to the rules that govern downtown street performances.
“Our existing affordable housing policy or any variation on it is bound to fail and waste borrowed money.”
“We should strive for real, long-term benefits to our citizens rather than just letting the catchword ‘affordable’ create a massive debt with possibly little return.”
“With the completion of 420 apartments, 100 more apartments under construction and whispers of 600 to come, you might imagine that the combination of property speculators, city ‘planning’ staff and Council itself were working to destroy rather than protect the character of our neighborhood.”
It’s been nearly four weeks since City Council last met. Five zoning requests dominate the agenda for Council’s Sept. 6 meeting. Notably absent from the proceedings will be a public hearing on proposed standards for screening electrical substations, a zoning ordinance amendment that has already been postponed many times. Council has been asked to advance the hearing date on that matter to Jan. 10.
The die is cast: a $74 million bond referendum will appear on Asheville voters’ General Election ballots in November. What uses has the city proposed for the money and, if the referendum passes, how will that spending affect different parts of the city?
The Housing Authority of the City of Asheville learned on Monday that it won’t get nearly $17 million of tax credit financing to support the planned redevelopment of the Lee Walker Heights public housing community — at least not this year.