Council to review Haywood Street housing contract

Asheville city seal

While the agenda for Asheville City Council’s meeting of Tuesday, Oct. 26, appears thin — no proclamations, presentations or public hearings — members will still convene to consider updates on two city contracts related to affordable housing, among other items.

One resolution would amend a grant agreement with Haywood Street Community Development to help the nonprofit develop 42 permanently affordable rental units. All of the apartments will be reserved for people earning less than 80% of the area median income ($60,100 for a family of four); up to half of those units could be available for those earning 30% AMI or less.

The city had previously agreed to sell property between 157 Asheland Ave. and 261 Asheland Ave. to Haywood Street for a similar affordable housing project, and according to a staff report available before the meeting, the nonprofit “incurred costs in due diligence and design in anticipating of being able to purchase that property.” 

However, the group decided to drop the proposal after significant community pushback; the city had acquired the site as part of the East Riverside urban renewal program, and Black activists had objected to its sale to a white-led organization. The nonprofit is now under contract for another property, located between 343 and 357 West Haywood St., and the city has committed $71,000 toward a deposit and due diligence on the site. Council will consider contributing an additional $225,000 dollars to pursue “additional investigations and due diligence of the site,” bringing its total investment to $296,000. The money would come from the $25 million in affordable housing bonds approved by city voters in November 2016. 

In another housing-related item, Council will consider whether to approve a request to restructure a $140,000 Housing Trust Fund loan for Mountain Housing Opportunities that was used in the construction of Compton Place, a 40-unit rental community for low-income senior citizens located on Eliada Home Road.

The original contract for the development, which was completed in 2003, deferred repayment of the loan principal until December, with the nonprofit making annual interest payments of $3,150. MHO is now asking that the city extend the loan and eliminate its interest rate, which would allow it to seek state tax credits by restructuring and repaying other debts. Instead, MHO would make annual principal-only payments of roughly $4,000 and pay the remaining principal in a lump sum in December 2031.

In other news

Ahead of the formal meeting, Council will hold virtual interviews for the Planning and Zoning Commission starting at 3 p.m. The interviews will be livestreamed though Asheville’s Public Input page and on the city’s YouTube channel. Council will then appoint one of the candidates to the commission during the regular meeting. 

Consent agenda and public comment

The consent agenda for the meeting contains four 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 sign a lease agreement with The Grind, a Black-owned coffee shop, for a city-owned property and structure at 8 River Arts Place. The project was chosen by city staff from among five ventures after the city requested proposals for initiatives at the building that would enhance the revitalization of the River Arts District and support Council’s strategic goals. 
  • A resolution approving an $864,000 contract with Indianapolis-based Marathon Health to manage the city’s Employee Health Center. The previous contractor, AdventHealth Hendersonville, chose not to renew the agreement. The new contract will double

the hours that a physician is available, as well as add a medical assistant and practice support specialist to expand availability of appointments for employees.

The meeting will 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 855-925-280, meeting code 5236.

Members of the public who wish to speak during the meeting must sign up in advance online or call 828-259-5900 no later than 9 a.m. Oct. 26. City staff will use the list of registered speakers to manage the speaker queue during the meeting. Speakers will need to listen to the meeting via phone by calling 855-925-2801, meeting code 5236.

Prerecorded voicemail messages can also be left at 855-925-2801, meeting code 5236; written comments can be sent to Emails will be accepted for 24 hours after each public hearing.

The full meeting agenda and supporting documents can be found here.


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