Asheville City Council reallocates federal grants, passes rezonings

Asheville City Council during Nov. 11 session. (Jesse Farthing // Mountain Xpress)

Asheville City Council breezed through a relatively short agenda before retreating into a closed session at the Nov. 11 meeting. With virtually no debate and unanimous approval, Council passed the consent agenda and the three scheduled public hearings.

Council voted to follow staff recommendations for reallocating $425,000 of federal HOME grant funds for use in local community projects. The money was received for the purpose of affordable housing and does not come out of the city’s general fund.

Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity will receive some of thefunds to develop 10 new, affordable homes; Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministries will get part of it to assist 28 families who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless; Madison County will get money to rehabilitate two to four homes; Mountain Housing Opportunities will receive a sum to develop 60 affordable rentals in Swannanoa; and Housing Assistance Corporation will use funds to develop 66 rental units in Hendersonville.

All told, the development projects from the HOME funds will create 136 units of affordable housing within the area as well as create construction jobs, city staff reported.

City Council also approved two conditional zoning requests during the meeting — one allowing a new, private drive with access to six residential units for a development at South Charlotte and Hazard Streets, and another to allow the Asheville Buncombe Youth Soccer Association to convert an existing residential structure on Azalea Road into an office building.

Councilman Cecil Bothwell expressed concern that allowing the conditional zoning at Azalea Road would open the door for the entire lot being turned into offices, limiting potential residential development. But city staff assured him that would not be allowed.

Council also heard a presentation from the Asheville Alcoholic Beverage Control Board on its profits, funds, improvements and giving back to the community. The ABC Board reported $25.7 million in gross sales for fiscal year 2013-14 — up 8.5 percent from 2012-13 — and made a 9.44 percent profit on sales after taxes.

Councilman Jan Davis called the ABC Board a “shining example of good management and good community service.”

The board spent $166,000 toward drug and alcohol rehabilitation and education funding last year.

To view Council’s action agenda of items passed, click here: aa11-11-14.



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