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.
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.