Asheville City Council considers housing incentives on May 26

Asheville city seal

The city’s COVID-19 response continues to dominate business at Asheville City Council, but that doesn’t mean officials have stopped work on the perennially hot topic of affordable housing. At Council’s meeting of Tuesday, May 26, members will consider approving two Land Use Incentive Grants for projects at 11 Collier Avenue and 2 Restaurant Court.

The first project would provide 54 units of downtown housing to households earning 80% or less of the area median income; the developer, Wilmington-based Tribute Companies, would also accept at least five housing choice vouchers. The company, which also received Council approval in December to build a 488-unit mixed-use complex with affordable elements on the South Slope, would receive a total tax rebate of more than $383,000 for these affordability guarantees.

The Collier development has faced criticism from residents and environmental activists who believe the land, which currently is home to nearly two dozen 100-year-old native oak trees, should be protected. An online petition by the South Slope Tree Preservation Coalition asking Council to stop the development, started in August, now has over 1,800 signatures.

The Restaurant Court development would include 40 affordable one-bedroom apartments near Tunnel Road in East Asheville, with nearby access to transit and essential services. All of the project’s units would be affordable at 80% AMI, with 30 set aside for households at or below 60% AMI.

Developer Kirk Booth has requested an incentive grant of over $289,000 and a $1 million loan from the city’s Housing Trust Fund. If both the grant and the loan are approved, the total subsidy per affordable unit would be roughly $32,000, less than half the $80,000 per unit target suggested at a September city workshop.

Other business and consent agenda

A presentation of the city’s fiscal year 2020-2021 budget is also planned. Documents were not linked through the online meeting agenda at press time.

Council’s consent agenda for the meeting contains 14 items, which will be approved as a package unless singled out for separate discussion. Highlights include the following resolutions:

  • A resolution authorizing city manager Debra Campbell to apply for and accept a U.S. Department of Justice Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Program grant. The DOJ has indicated that the Asheville Police Department is eligible for $153,278 to reimburse purchases made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • A resolution to apply for and accept $285,416 in grant funding from the Office of National Drug Control Policy to reduce drug trafficking and production. The funds will cover supplies, services and overtime pay for the Asheville High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area team.
  • A $962,000 contract with Young Transportation to supplement Asheville Rides Transit operations and restore service to routes that have been cut due to COVID-19. Federal coronavirus relief money will be used to cover the entire contract cost.

The full meeting agenda and supporting documents for the regular meeting can be found at this link. Due to COVID-19, Council will meet remotely, and the meeting will be livestreamed through the City of Asheville’s Public Engagement Hub.

Members of the public may comment in three ways:

  • Leave a voicemail at 828-925-2801, meeting code 8914, before 5 p.m. on May 25
  • Email; emails will be accepted for up to 24 hours after each public hearing
  • Call in to the meeting live at 828-925-2801, meeting code 8914, and press * to listen live, leave a comment or join the speaker queue.

Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Molly Horak
Molly Horak served as a reporter at Mountain Xpress. Follow me @molly_horak

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.