County considers $749K grant for Haywood Road housing project

Buncombe County seal

Haywood Street Community Development is continuing to piece together a jigsaw puzzle of funding for an affordable housing development on Haywood Road. On Tuesday, Feb. 1, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners will vote on whether to award the nonprofit a $749,000 grant toward construction of the 45-unit project in the West End/Clingman Avenue neighborhood.

If the money is approved, Buncombe would join the city of Asheville in supporting Haywood Street’s work. Asheville City Council has so far awarded $296,000 toward the project, including $225,000 toward due diligence costs approved in a 6-1 vote Oct. 26.

As noted in a presentation available prior to the meeting, the project would provide housing within walking distance of downtown Asheville for those making no more than 80% of the area median income ($42,100 for an individual or $60,100 for a family of four). The apartments would also accept tenants using federal housing vouchers, which often go unused due to landlord restrictions.

The nonprofit should not receive the funding “until the project has been de-risked and is fully shovel-ready,” according to a recommendation from the county’s Affordable Housing Subcommittee. Money would be drawn from Buncombe’s roughly $50.7 million federal American Rescue Plan Act allocation, over $22.3 million of which has already been awarded.

In other news

Having canceled their Jan. 18 meeting as Winter Storm Izzy moved into Western North Carolina, commissioners will take up two previously scheduled votes to accept roughly $4.2 million in state funding. Of those funds, $2.3 million would go toward emergency rental assistance, and $1.9 million would be allocated for the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program. Information about applying to both aid programs is available by calling 828-250-5500.

The board will also vote on appropriating about $1.96 million from Buncombe’s fiscal reserves to cover state-mandated teacher salary increases at local school systems. Buncombe County Schools would receive roughly $1.64 million, and Asheville City Schools would get about $317,000.

Consent agenda and public comment

The board’s consent agenda for the meeting contains 12 items, which will be approved as a package unless singled out for separate discussion. Six of those items had been included on the agenda for the canceled Jan. 18 meeting. New highlights include the following resolutions:

  • Approval of a $311,500 increase to a contract with Greensboro-based CPL Architects for additional design work on the county’s new Fleet Services Complex. The facility will now include all of the county’s General Services, including building and grounds maintenance; funding for the design was budgeted earlier as part of Buncombe’s fiscal year 2021-22 capital improvement plan.
  • Approval of an additional $40,000 in funding to local homelessness services partners for the provision of Code Purple emergency shelter through the end of March. The money, to be funded from local sales tax revenue, would double Buncombe’s Code Purple investment for a total of $80,000.
  • Accepting a state grant of nearly $24,500 for Buncombe County Agriculture and Land Resources to purchase lime and manure spreaders. The equipment will then be rented out to small farms throughout the county, with an estimated 100 landowners expected to use it over the next five years.

The commissioners will also hold a briefing at 2:30 p.m. before the regular meeting to discuss Buncombe’s COVID-19 response and other matters. The full agenda and supporting documents for the regular meeting can be found at this link.

In-person public comment will be taken at the start of the regular meeting, which begins at 5 p.m. in Room 326 at 200 College St. in Asheville; no voicemail or email comments will be permitted. Both the briefing and regular meeting will be livestreamed on the county’s Facebook page and will subsequently be available via YouTube.


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About Daniel Walton
Daniel Walton is the News Editor of Mountain Xpress, coordinating coverage of Western North Carolina's governments, community groups, businesses and environment. His work has previously appeared in Capital at Play, Edible Asheville and the Citizen-Times, among other area publications. Follow me @DanielWWalton

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2 thoughts on “County considers $749K grant for Haywood Road housing project

  1. Mike R.

    We should start the dialogue for merging the city and county governments into one. Asheville is a narrow cross-shaped wedge in the county, inefficient in shape and size. I can think of no reason why taxpayers wouldn’t benefit greatly from a merged government; think of the duplications of facilities, admin personnel, equipment, etc.

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