Nearly 480 affordable housing units could be built on property owned by Buncombe County, according to a new analysis shared with the county Board of Commissioners.
The county has not received any applications for cryptocurrency mines, according to a staff presentation provided ahead of a briefing scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 21. But commissioners are expected to weigh in on whether county zoning should be updated in anticipation of future development requests.
The proposed audit, presented to the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners on Jan. 17, would look at whether the city and county are complying with “federal and state laws, regulatory bodies, codes of conduct, court orders and consent degrees,” with a focus on damage caused to the Black community by noncompliance.
The annual report and accompanying presentation were created by Buncombe’s Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team, which was formed in 2018 to prevent domestic violence deaths in the county.
The Winter Safe Shelter program at Asheville Primary School, as explained by Counterflow Asheville, will prioritize families, LGBTQ people and residents who are Black, Indigenous or people of color. The shelter plans to operate nightly through the end of March, housing up to 10 people per night with space for another 10 support staff on site.
A quarterly update on the county’s strategic plan, shared with the Board of Commissioners during a Dec. 5 briefing, showed that three of the plan’s four primary goals in that area are not on track with county targets. Substance abuse deaths in particular have worsened since the plan was adopted in 2020.
A new era in Buncombe County leadership begins Monday, Dec. 5. That’s the day newly elected District 2 Commissioner Martin Moore will take his oath of office and replace incumbent Republican Robert Pressley, making the county Board of Commissioners an entirely Democratic body.
As presented to the county Board of Commissioners Nov. 15 by Jennifer Teague, Buncombe’s aging and adult services program manager, the Asheville-Buncombe County Homeless Coalition called the first Code Purple of 2022 on Oct. 15 — the first day this year’s program went into effect. After evaluating the results of that first night, the coalition decided to extend entry times for Code Purple shelters.
Before the noise ordinance was passed last September, most noise complaints were called in to the Asheville Police Department nonemergency line. While APD still handles nighttime noise complaints and those that might come with safety risks, the city’s Development Services Department resolved 71% of complaints over the past year.
Buncombe behavioral health manager Victoria Reichard noted that the county has received roughly $2 million of a more than $16 million lawsuit settlement, negotiated with pharmaceutical companies over their role in the opioid epidemic, this fiscal year. Of those funds, a county team has recommended about $518,000 in immediate spending.
The county may offer reduced monthly parking passes in its Coxe Avenue parking deck, cutting the monthly cost to rent a space in that garage from $85 to $40 for employees who work within about a mile of Pack Square.
The presentation, available on the Board of Commissioners agenda prior to the Sept. 6 meeting, focuses on the nearly $3.75 million awarded from the county’s early childhood education fund in fiscal year 2021-2022. Across 21 funded projects, according to the presentation, 71% of goals were met, with most shortfalls coming in enrollment, attendance and staffing targets.
The resolution would take effect if either or both of the bond referendums up for November votes were approved. The oversight committee would monitor investments made with up to $70 million in bond money and ensure the funds were being used to meet Buncombe’s goals: conserve 20% of county land and increase affordable housing by up to 3,150 units, both by 2030.
According to Matthew Cable, Buncombe’s community development division manager, the county unsuccessfully applied for the same funding last year. The county Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing on the grant during its meeting Tuesday, Aug. 16.
According to data presented by Tim Love, Buncombe’s director of economic development and governmental relations, the county’s poverty rate went up from about 11.5% in 2018 — its lowest point in a decade — to about 13.9% in 2020, the latest year for which information was available. Poverty in both North Carolina and the overall U.S. fell over the same period.
The Community Reparations Commission, tasked with developing recommendations for Asheville and Buncombe County to address the impacts of systemic racism, currently consists of 25 members and seven alternates but has no youth representation.
Of 80 microhousing units, 16 would be designated as affordable for people earning at or below 80% of the area median income. However, developer David Moritz confirmed that market-price rent for all of the project’s units would be about $1,000 including utilities, meaning that the city-subsidized units would not immediately be cheaper for their tenants.
As presented by Lucy Crown, the city’s greenways program planner, Close the GAP combines a proposed map of greenway and pedestrian networks with updates to city policies and design standards. Asheville City Council is scheduled to vote on the proposal in July.