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.