Commissioners consider criteria for conservation easements

During their meeting of Tuesday, May 2, members of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners will consider new criteria for prioritizing conservation easement projects. If adopted, the rules would govern millions in spending from proceeds of the open space bonds approved by voters last fall.

The $30 million bond measure is meant to help the county preserve farmland and other open spaces, as well as construct greenways.  Since the bonds were approved, county staffers have been working with the Agriculture Advisory Board, Land Conservation Advisory Board and the public to develop criteria for allocating funding towards conservation. 

According to a presentation available prior to the meeting, the county plans to use a point system to score eligible projects. Points will be awarded for work that would protect a scenic viewshed, preserve water quality and conserve working forests, among other criteria. 

In other news

The commissioners will hold a public hearing to consider a temporary moratorium on cryptocurrency mine facilities in Buncombe County. If approved, the moratorium would last until next May, giving county staff time to develop permanent regulation for crypto mining that would be included in a future zoning ordinance. As previously reported by Xpress, the board has expressed concerns over noise and electronic waste from the mines based on reports from Cherokee County. 

Consent agenda

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


  • Approval of the March tax collection report for fiscal year 2022-23. According to the document, of the nearly $240 million billed, 98.98% has been collected, compared to 98.79% of the total at the same point in fiscal year 2021-22.

  • Approval to reallocate roughly $49,000 of Juvenile Crime Prevention Council funds from programs that no longer need their full allotments. The JCPC plans to use about $39,000 to purchase a van for the Buncombe Structured Day program; $5,000 would go to both the Teen Court and Earn and Learn Restitution programs, which take referrals from schools as alternatives to suspension.


  • Approve a roughly $144,000 budget amendment to support three new conservation easement projects in Black Mountain, Fairview and Weaverville, as well as increase support for one existing project in Weaverview. The easements will total 406 acres.


The full agenda and supporting documents for the regular meeting can be found at this link. Prior to that meeting, the commissioners will hold a 3 p.m. briefing. No further information was linked as of press time.

In-person public comment will be taken at the start of the regular meeting, which begins at 5 p.m. in room 326 at 200 College St., Asheville; no voicemail or email comments will be permitted. Both the briefing and the regular meeting will be livestreamed on the county’s Facebook page and will subsequently be available via YouTube.


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.

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.