As housing prices in Asheville continue to rise, one solution might help keep costs down: Go small. A proposed South Slope development taking that approach is now seeking extra help from Asheville City Council.
During their meeting of Tuesday, June 14, Council members will consider a land use incentive grant for an 80-unit microhousing development at 217 Hilliard Ave. Of those units, 16 apartments will be affordable for people earning at or below 80% of the area median income — defined by the city for studio or efficiency units as renting for no more than $1,053 per month with utilities included — for a minimum of 20 years. The project will also accept housing choice vouchers for eight of the affordable units.
According to planning documents submitted with the city, the units will be no larger than 250 square feet. Each will contain a sink and an area for a microwave or other small appliances, with a full kitchen and lounge available for shared use by occupants of the 14-17 units on each floor.
Total construction costs for the project are estimated at $7.2 million; the land use incentive grant would rebate taxes on the increased value of the property to the developer, Asheville-based Mori Blue Holdings. According to a staff report, the grant would be paid in annual installments of $28,228 for 21 years, or $592,790 in total, after which point the city would receive approximately $29,016 annually in tax revenue. The estimated subsidy per affordable unit would thus be $37,049.
In other news
Council will also conduct a public hearing on the proposed fiscal year 2022-23 annual operating budget. Xpress recently rounded up 10 noteworthy takeaways from the nearly $216.9 million budget; since publication of that piece, the city has updated the budget to include $108,000 in funding for an urban forester position and an extra $135,000 for the city’s reparations fund.
Consent agenda and public comment
The consent agenda for the meeting contains 14 items, which will be approved as a package unless singled out for separate discussion. Highlights include the following:
- A resolution authorizing City Manager Debra Campbell to execute a $348,370 contract with Charlotte-based Creech & Associates for a comprehensive facilities study. The firm will examine the city’s more than 1.6 million square feet of facilities to guide updates to or demolitions of city buildings, as well as prioritize needs.
- A resolution authorizing Campbell to enter into a contract of up to $140,860 with Raleigh-based SEPI Engineering & Construction for the Airport Road Sidewalk Design project. The project includes installation of sidewalk, pedestrian signal crossings, wheelchair ramps and bus pads along Airport Road from Hendersonville Road to the southernmost entrance to Walmart.
- A resolution authorizing Campbell to enter into a $111,000 contract with the Durham-based McAdams Company for community engagement, planning and design for the Pack Square Visioning Project. Funding for the process will be split between the city and Buncombe County, with the former contributing $81,000 and the latter $30,000.
- A resolution authorizing Cambell to enter into an $84,000 contract with Raleigh-based Blanchard, Miller, Lewis and Isley, P.A. for one year of lobbying services.
Council’s regular meeting will take place at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center – Asheville Banquet Hall, located at 87 Haywood St., starting at 5 p.m. The meeting will also be livestreamed through Asheville’s public engagement hub and on the city’s YouTube channel. Members of the public can also listen live by calling 855-925-2801, meeting code 2450.
Members of the public who wish to speak during the regular meeting must attend in person and sign up at the door. No live remote comment will be permitted.
Prerecorded voicemail messages can also be left at 855-925-2801, meeting code 2450; written comments can be sent to AshevilleCityCouncilJune142022@PublicInput.com until 9 a.m. June 14. General comments for City Council can be sent at any time to AshevilleNCCouncil@AshevilleNC.gov.
The full meeting agenda and supporting documents can be found here.