In its first meeting since approving the county budget in June, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners will return to action Tuesday, Aug. 2. Commissioners will consider a rezoning request and whether to allow a decrease in affordable housing units for a mixed-use development. They will also vote on a variety of board appointments.
A troubled project, initially announced when Terry Bellamy was mayor of Asheville, will be back before commissioners as the developers of Eagle Market Place request permission to reduce the number of affordable housing units in the project from 62 to 32-38.
EMP’s mixed-used project, under construction in downtown’s historically African-American neighborhood known as the Block, is a partnership between the nonprofit Mountain Housing Opportunities and Eagle Market Streets Development Corporation. In 2012, the project received $7 million from the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency, $3.3 million from the city of Asheville and a loan worth $300,000 from the county with the promise of an additional $2 million loan after construction is complete.
The project got off to a rocky start when a newly poured foundation cracked and was deemed structurally unsound, which in turn led to an approximately $4.5 million higher price tag. To help offset the additional cost, EMP developers are asking for approval of a restructured rent rate. Developers state they need to get construction back on track before the cost of materials rises any further. They say the request “is the way to move forward without asking for additional county funds,” according to documents provided to the county. Developers also state they’ve incurred an additional $3 million in debt service, due to construction delays.
Commissioners will also hold a public hearing concerning the rezoning of 7.5-acres of land, located at the intersection of Kennedy and Clarks Chapel roads in Weaverville, from R-3 to CS (commercial service district). The county describes CS as “primarily intended to provide suitable locations for clustered commercial development to encourage the concentration of commercial activity in those specified areas with access to major traffic arteries, to discourage strip commercial development and to allow for suitable noncommercial land uses.”
The Planning Board and county staff are recommending approval of the rezoning request. You can view a footprint of the area here.
Commissioners will vote on the following board appointments:
- Agriculture Advisory Board (1 vacancy)
- Health and Human Services Board (1 vacancy)
- Airport Authority (1 vacancy)
- Tourism Development Authority (1 reappointment)
- School Capital Fund Commission (2 vacancies)
- Adult Care Home Community Advisory Committee (6 vacancies)
- Nusing Home Community Advisory Committee ( 4 vacancies)
The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners will meet at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 2. You can view the full agenda here.