Commission to decide Charlotte Highway rezoning at Jan. 7 meeting

Buncombe County seal

When different areas of Buncombe County government disagree, the buck stops with the Board of Commissioners. Its members will be asked to settle a dispute over the rezoning of a mobile home park off of Charlotte Highway at their meeting of Tuesday, Jan. 7, in Room 326 at 200 College St.

The county planning department supports applicant David Day‘s request to change the roughly 6.4-acre property from its current residential zoning to commercial service, a designation that would allow a much wider range of uses, including lodging. In a report available before the meeting, staff members conclude that new commercial development would be “safer and more resilient” because it would, unlike the current mobile homes, comply with floodplain regulations.

The Buncombe County Planning Board, however, recommended denial of the rezoning in a 6-1 decision on Oct. 21. According to the minutes of that meeting, board members were concerned about the displacement of existing residents and more intensive development on steep slopes. Billy Taylor was the only member to vote against the denial; the minutes do not record the rationale for his decision.

During public comment at the planning board meeting, adjacent land owner Sherry Barrett said she was worried about residents of the park’s 17 units losing their homes in the midst of the county’s ongoing affordable housing shortage. Mobile home park resident Louis Correra confirmed that many of his neighbors “live from paycheck to paycheck” and could not afford to relocate if the park were redeveloped.

In other business

Buncombe officials will consider whether to give written consent for refugee resettlement within the county, a new requirement enacted by an executive order of President Donald Trump. Catholic Charities Diocese of Charlotte is seeking the approval to continue its work with primarily Eastern European refugees in Western North Carolina.

At a Dec. 17 pre-meeting of the board, Sandy Buck, regional director for Catholic Charities, said her organization has resettled roughly 300 refugees in Buncombe County over the past three years, with the majority coming from Russia, Ukraine and Moldova. The immigrants, she said, have been united with family members already living in the county who support them as they begin their new lives.

The board will also take up the acceptance of nearly $1.2 million in state grant funding for the Buncombe County Family Justice Center. Over the next two years, the money would fund nine staffers to support victims of domestic and sexual violence.

In accepting the grant, the county would commit to a 20% local match of roughly $236,000, which would be met through funding a Family Justice Center Coordinator and providing office space for the program.

Consent agenda

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

  • Approve a roughly $5.9 million contract with James R. Vannoy Construction for exterior repairs to the Buncombe County Courthouse, Detention Center and Administration Building. Although Vannoy was the only contractor to apply for the project, its bid was still came in approximately $300,000 lower than the county’s budget for the work.
  • Accept over $46,000 in grant funding for the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office. The money includes nearly $22,000 from an unspecified source for the county’s K-9 program and over $5,500 from a Walmart fundraising effort.

The commission will hold a pre-meeting at 3 p.m. in the same location. The full meeting agenda and supporting documents can be found at this link.

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About Daniel Walton
Daniel Walton is the Green Scene editor and a reporter for Mountain Xpress. His work has previously appeared in Capital at Play, Edible Asheville, and the Citizen-Times, among other area publications. Follow me @DanielWWalton

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