While a dollar doesn’t go as far as it used to, it might be all that a private developer needs to purchase 5.5 acres of city-owned land near downtown Asheville.
During their meeting of Tuesday, Aug. 23, members of Asheville City Council will consider a resolution allowing the sale of city-owned property to Charlotte-based developer Laurel Street Residential for $1, in exchange for the construction of affordable housing in Asheville’s South Slope.
According to a staff report, the city originally purchased the property, located at 319 Biltmore Ave., for $5.3 million in 2020 using bond funding, and spent an additional $400,000 in bond funding to prepare the site for development. The property adjoins the renamed Maple Crest Apartments at Lee Walker Heights, one of Asheville’s public housing communities.
The proposed sales agreement requires Laurel Street Residential to construct a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments for a total of 215 rental units on the site. Of those, 20% (roughly 43 units) would be available for 30 years to those earning at or below 60% of the area median income ($33,750 for an individual or $48,188 for a family of four). Half of those units would also accept Housing Choice Vouchers. Another 10% of the total apartments (22 units) will be available to those earning at or below 80% AMI. The development would also contain parking spaces, 1,000 square feet of commercial space and a community space for residents.
Including the city’s initial land purchase price, the proposed per-unit subsidy is currently estimated to be about $81,500 per affordable unit. In addition to the deed restrictions, the sale of the land is also contingent on approval of a conditional zoning application and the construction of a traffic signal at White Fawn Drive. If the resolution is approved, the developer will move forward with the design and apply for conditional zoning.
In other news
Council will also conduct a public hearing to consider adopting the South Slope Vision Plan, which would suggest potential future city investments and connect the adjacent neighborhoods surrounding Asheville’s Southside Neighborhood. A draft of the plan was released at the end of February and received almost 5,000 comments and suggestions.
City Manager Debra Campbell will present a manager’s report that includes progress updates on the city’s Facilities Management division and the Mountainside Park and Memorial Stadium improvement project. The report will also include city employee recognition. No additional materials on the report were provided at press time.
Consent agenda and public comment
The consent agenda for the meeting contains 13 items, which will be approved as a package unless singled out for separate discussion. Highlights include the following:
- A resolution authorizing City Manager Campbell to enter into a sidewalk maintenance agreement with the N.C. Dept. of Transportation, which plans to construct a sidewalk along Tunnel Road between Beaucatcher Tunnel and Old Chunns Cove Road. NCDOT is fully funding the project, but the city will be responsible for maintenance after the installation.
- A resolution to add $122,691 to the amount of the original purchase order for three 30-foot Gillig diesel buses to pay for cost increases associated with inflation and supply chain issues. Gillig has requested an additional $40,897 per bus, which amounts to an 8.8% increase to the original cost, bringing the total cost to $1,461,883.
- A $419,214 budget amendment for the Asheville Police Department’s state and federal forfeiture funds. The Asset Forfeiture Program divides confiscated proceeds from criminal activities among state and federal governments and local law enforcement agencies. APD plans to use its funds for the purchase of a new DNA analyzer system, instead of a bomb robot and advanced training for four forensic technicians.
Council members will gather in their chambers on the second floor of City Hall, located at 70 Court Plaza, starting at 5 p.m. The meeting will also be carried live on Charter/Spectrum Channel 193 and 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 4774.
Those who wish to speak during the 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 4774; written comments can be sent to AshevilleCityCouncilAug232022@PublicInput.com until 9 a.m. Aug. 23. 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.