Commissioners to vote on fire district changes, tech park

Nonprofit agencies will make their case for funding from Buncombe County's upcoming budget for Fiscal Year 2018. A total of 46 nonprofits are asking for an aggregate of almost $11 million.

At the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners’ Tuesday, Nov. 3 meeting, the board will proclaim the month of November Adoption Awareness Month, vote on fire district changes, and discuss a technology park project, a rezoning request and a funding request for Veterans Treatment Court.

Fire district changes

At a lengthy meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 20, the Board held public hearings for 25 county fire and emergency service districts. Now, commissioners will vote either for or against these changes.

During the previous meeting, County Attorney Michael Frue explained: “Everyone needs to understand that there is no service change. There is no change in tax rate. We have 35 service districts for 20 tax districts. That’s the mess we’re trying to correct.”

 

Under this proposal, 14 new fire protection and ambulance rescue service districts will be established, five current districts will be abolished (as they’re absorbed by the new districts) and six already established districts will merge with existing ambulance rescue service districts.

“We created this plan so that residents would see no change in their day-to-day lives,” Frue said. “We’re just erasing [and redrawing] lines on a map.”

To read more about the proposal, click here.

Technology park

Even earlier this year, the Board voted to approve the expansion of local tech company AvL Technologies.

Since then, the Buncombe County Industrial Facilities and Pollution Control Financing Authority decided to issue revenue bonds to finance an industrial project for AvL Technology Park.

“AvL Technology Park’s proposed project consists of the … acquisition, construction and equipping of an approximately 60,000-square-foot building and related improvements,” reads the notice for the public hearing.

The facility will be located at 22 N. Merrimon Ave.

The project will be owned by the Buncombe County Industrial Facilities and leased to AvL Technologies and one or more other tenants “to be used for the manufacture, design, development and production of mobile satellite antenna, positioner systems and related equipment and software.”

The project will cost $8,600,000, and the maximum aggregate principal amount of bonds to be issued is $6,800,000.

The commissioners will vote whether to approve the issuance of these bonds, thereby approving the project.

To read more about AvL Technologies, click here.

Rezoning

On Sept. 18, C. Daryl Rosenberger applied for a rezoning of a portion of property along Charlotte Highway, near Fairview. The property’s current zoning is residential low-density, and Rosenberger is requesting it be changed to a neighborhood service district.

A neighborhood service district is “primarily intended to provide suitable locations for … neighborhood-oriented [businesses, services and activities in] close proximity to major residential neighborhoods,” reads the county’s zoning ordinance.

An analysis of the request by the County Planning Board reads: “The applicant has made previous requests regarding this property since the adoption of countywide zoning in 2009, which were denied. A complete history of requests made for the rezoning of this property is included within the staff analysis.”

County staff recommended the commissioners deny the request, as did the Planning Board, in a vote of 6 to 2.

Veterans Treatment Court

Veterans Treatment Court coordinator Eric Howard is requesting $10,000 from both the Buncombe Commissioners and the Asheville City Council to fund a new court program for recovering local veterans.

“There are an estimated 19,000 veterans in Buncombe County alone,” Howard wrote to the Board. “The Veterans Treatment Court is led by Judge Marvin Pope Jr. and supported fully by the Buncombe County District Attorney, Mr. Todd Williams. The VTC is a court designed to meet the needs of Buncombe County veterans who are facing legal challenges. Buncombe County is leading Western North Carolina by developing the first VTC in the WNC area, and only the third in the state.”

The VTC, he writes, focuses on treatment, bringing attention to PTSD, addiction and “other unfortunate challenges that may arise due to military service. Moreover, this court recognizes that camaraderie and mentorship is possibly the strongest piece in restoring our veterans’ hope and sense of humor.”

A portion of the requested funds will provide drug testing kits, mentor support, emergency housing, transportation and special systems such as Call to Test, a system that prompts random drug screens and daily phone check-ins.

The program will serve up to 25 participants at a time, replacing veteran participants as they exit or graduate the program. And money will be managed by Asheville-Buncombe Community Christian Ministry to ensure “money is tracked and records kept.”

The meeting will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 3, at 4:30 p.m., on the third floor of the county building located at 200 College St., downtown Asheville.

To read the full agenda, click here.

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About Hayley Benton
Current freelance journalist and artist. Former culture/entertainment reporter at the Asheville Citizen-Times and former news reporter at Mountain Xpress. Also a coffee drinker, bad photographer, teller of stupid jokes and maker-upper of words. I can be reached at hayleyebenton [at] gmail.com. Follow me @HayleyTweeet

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