Buncombe County Commissioners will seek public feedback on two issues tomorrow night, Sept. 16: one involving an economic incentive deal to Wicked Weed Brewing and the other regarding Weaverville zoning.
Wicked Weed, a popular microbrewery and restaurant, is currently located at a single location on Biltmore Avenue in downtown Asheville. The company wishes to expand its operations with the creation of another brewery. In its tentative deal with the county, it promises “75 new full-time jobs” and an “average annual wage of $32,000, excluding benefits.” That’s almost $8,000 above the brewing industry’s $24,150 annual average in the county. It also agrees to investing $6.5 million in new capital improvements.
There are two resolutions related to the deal that are coming before the board and are subject to public hearings. The first is an economic incentive Wicked Weed is requesting: $74,000, to be paid before the end of February 2019. In return, Wicked Weed must operate the new expansion for at least five years (January 2019 – December 2024), keep the average wage steady at $32,000 excluding benefits, and maintain a level of full-time positions as outlined by the county in the agreement, among other stipulations. The second part of the resolution is Wicked Weed’s purchase of county property on 145 Jacob Holm Way in Candler; the property has a 40,000-square-foot industrial space. Wicked Weed is purchasing the property for $1.3 million and must finalize purchase by March 31, 2018.
In the meantime, however, Wicked Weed can, if it so chooses, enter into a lease agreement with the county leading up to the 2018 date, to help defer costs and ease the company into the sale of the building. If approved, the rent for the initial term (Oct. 1 – June 30, 2015) will be set at the sum of $1. The additional two-and-a-half year term beginning July 1, 2015, will have increasing rent prices paid in monthly installments: Wicked Weed would pay $30,000 in rent from July 1 – December 31, 2015, $60,000 in rent in calendar year 2016, and $70,000 in rent in calendar year 2017. The rent agreement is entirely optional, and Wicked Weed could decide to outright purchase the building at any time.
Commissioners will also solicit public feedback on new zoning laws affecting the Weaverville Extra-Territorial Jurisdiction (an ETJ is any land a government exercises authority over outside of its designated boundaries. As it stands, the municipality of Weaverville directly controls zoning over many tracts of land outside its city limits. The North Carolina General Assembly removed this authority in June. So it would fall to the county to adopt a proposal to take over the zoning within 120 days. If the county does not vote to take over zoning authority, then the area currently defined as the Town of Weaverville ETJ will become unzoned at the end of the period, and “would no longer be regulated by any type of zoning or land use restrictions,” according to county documents. The county has drawn up an ordinance detailing the transfer of zoning authority.
On another front, commissioners will consider a resolution concerning the contaminated CTS site on Mills Gap Road, which is the “documented source of chlorinated solvents and other hazardous substances that have been detected above regulatory standards,” according to the draft resolution. It authorizes the county to take “necessary and appropriate legal actions to collect $2,043,255 from the responsible parties in connection with contaminations.”
In other business, commissioners are set to sign a joint endorsement with the city of Asheville to authorize a sports complex planned for Enka/Candler and other projects in the Riverfront Destination Development. They will also make appointments to the Industrial Facilities and Pollution Control Financing Authority, the Agriculture Advisory Board, the Asheville Buncombe Homeless Initiative, and the Adult Care Home Community Advisory Board.
The commissioners will meet at 4:30 pm. at 200 College Street, Room 326.