Buncombe County Commissioners: Build it and they will come? ***Live Twitter Coverage***

At its Oct. 26 meeting, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners will consider proposals to provide economic incentives for a workforce housing project, allocate education lottery funds to help pay the salaries of county teachers, and repeal “Historic Landmark” designations from a pair of burned buildings.

Topping the agenda is a request by Frontier Syndicate LLC to grant its Montford Commons development economic incentives to provide workforce housing.

The proposed development is a 210,362 square foot, 250-unit apartment complex accompanied by a 390-space parking deck to be built on a mostly vacant site between the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce and Isaac Dickson Elementary School on Hill Street. The apartments would range in size from 540-square-feet to 1,146-square-feet and rents would range from $765 per month for a flat up to $1,146 for a 2‐bedroom/2‐bath unit.

The developer is seeking the economic incentive equivalent of 10 years worth of anticipated property tax from the county – estimated at $1.8 million – to be used to offset infrastructure costs. Frontier is also requesting incentives from the City of Asheville that would waive half of the project’s fees and any increase in property taxes for the first five years in return for a commitment that its apartments will be available at workforce housing rates for the next 15 years. The deal with the city is contingent on Buncombe County agreeing to provide an equivalent or greater amount of support.  Developers hope to break ground on the project in early 2011.

The board will also vote on a resolution to allocate up to $1.2 million in education lottery funds to help pay the salaries of Buncombe County School teachers. The school system has requested the money to help make up for a funding decrease by the North Carolina General Assembly in its 2010-2011 budget.

In other business, the commissioners will consider a pair of ordinances to repeal “Historic Landmark” designations from the the John A. Lanning House and the Richmond Hill House. Both sites have been severely damaged in fires in recent years and the Historic Resources Commission recommends passing the change.

The board will meet at 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 26, in the commissioner’s chambers, located at 30 Valley St. A short pre-meeting review of the agenda will begin at 4:15 p.m.

About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning journalist who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

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