Developers look to build more than 350 housing units

DEVELOPMENT DENSITY: A 296-unit apartment complex is up for consideration when the Buncombe County Board of Adjustment meets on Wednesday, Nov. 8.
DEVELOPMENT DENSITY: A 296-unit apartment complex is up for consideration when the Buncombe County Board of Adjustment meets on Wednesday, Nov. 8. Image courtesy of Buncombe County

Editor’s note: Traffic statistics for Aiken Road were corrected on Nov. 7, at 3:50 p.m.

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — The Buncombe County Board of Adjustment will consider two high-density projects when it meets on Wednesday, Nov. 8. The first project would bring 296 apartments to the North Asheville area and the other would build 62 townhomes in Arden.

Atlanta-based Hathaway Development applied for a conditional use permit to build an apartment complex on 29.5 acres of land near the intersection of Aiken Road and Country Oak Drive. The development needs a conditional use permit because it is more than eight buildings and is considered a planned-used development, per the county’s zoning ordinance.

According to site plans, the apartment complex would be built on 18 acres, with construction set to begin in spring 2018, and take two years to complete. Zoning allows for 12 units per acre, and the project calls for 10.1 units per acre.

Aiken Road CUP
Above is the footprint an Atlanta-based developer is proposing for a 296-unit apartment complex. At least one resident is worried it will bring increased traffic to the area. Map courtesy of Buncombe County

Aiken Road resident Marilyn Ball reached out to Xpress to voice concerns about the density of the project. “That’s about 30,000 persons per square mile. If they succeed, it will start an avalanche of more high-density apartment complexes in our area,” she said via email. “That number of apartment dwellers means another thousand vehicles on Aiken Road, New Stock Road and Merrimon Avenue, not to mention other streets and I-26. This will aggravate driving conditions even more.”

The N.C. Department of Transportation does not have complete annual average daily traffic volume for Aiken Road. Data does show that the stretch from Aiken Road to Revco Drive had an annual average daily traffic volume of 1,600 cars in 2016. Last month, Xpress took an in-depth look at who is responsible for mitigating traffic issues connected with new developments. See “Buncombe residents call for brake on traffic growth” here.

Plans for the proposed 296-unit apartment complex can be viewed here.

The other proposed housing development on the agenda calls for 62 townhomes off Baldwin Road in Arden. Arden-based Jackson Residential Partners is asking to build on 6.5 acres of the 7.2-acre footprint. The project is considered a planned-used development, according to the county’s zoning ordinance, and needs a conditional use permit for decreased minimum lot size and interior setbacks.

According to data from the N.C. Department of Transportation, Baldwin Road had an annual average daily traffic volume of 3,800 cars in 2016. Plans for the project can be viewed here.

Baldwin Road CUP
Above is the footprint of the proposed 62 townhome complex off Baldwin Road in Arden. Map courtesy of Buncombe County

The Buncombe County Board of Adjustment meets on Wednesday, Nov. 8 at noon at 30 Valley St.

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About Dan Hesse
I grew up outside of Atlanta and moved to WNC in 2001 to attend Montreat College. After college, I worked at NewsRadio 570 WWNC as an anchor/reporter and covered Asheville City Council and the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners starting in 2004. During that time I also completed WCU's Master of Public Administration program. You can reach me at dhesse@mountainx.com.

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26 thoughts on “Developers look to build more than 350 housing units

  1. luther blissett

    “the proposed 296-unit apartment complex”

    Which, as the Xpress noted in its report, comes just short of the 300-unit threshold for a mandatory NCDOT traffic survey. What a coincidence. That unincorporated space between Woodfin and Weaverville is likely to get built out very quickly.

  2. Bright

    Sad bunch in this city…and it’s getting a bad reputation as Hit and Run Drunkville, USA.

    • Never heard that criticism before and I am pretty sure if there has been a spike in hit and run incidents it would have been covered by the media.

      • Lulz

        Wrong. Media won’t go after the beer tourism industry just like they don’t go after Biltmore and their low wages. Cecil died last week and all the praise heaped on him for making Biltmore a mega attraction and the jobs was the talk. Not the detrimental impact of said tourism and the low wages that continue to go on. Or that Biltmore is subsidized directly by taxpayers. All the talk of the wealthy getting tax breaks can be directly applied to Biltmore and others locally. True journalist would bring that up instead of the fluff they write about.

        • I find it implausible Asheville’s smaller independent newspapers would cover up the negative consequences of Asheville’s Beer scene. It would seem to me if drunk driving was an issue there would be other groups such as MAD protesting. While Bitmore may be good at lowering their tax liability they do not receive funding from the Government and I am pretty sure they pay their employees better than most local businesses, whether it’s a living wage I don’t know.

          • Alan Ditmore

            Does Biltmore pay a higher percentage of the wealth of it’s owner or not? The correct pay standard is not a flat number, it is a percentage.

        • Big Al

          MtnX did recently report on local law enforcement efforts to curb drunk driving (“Swerving through paradise: The rise and fall of DWIs in Beer City” Sept. 8, 2017).

          The article included objections from local city councilman Haynes who felt that law enforcement was too harsh on drunk drivers.

          Kinda pitiful when it is your your own ELECTED LEADERS rather than the beer industry that work harder to defend POTENTIAL KILLERS than to protect their victims.

          • Jay Reese

            I found that article. This quote and others seem to prove the Beer Industry is not a burden to our community. “But while beer is booming, incidents of driving while intoxicated have actually decreased over the past several years…In 2011, Buncombe County reached a peak percentage of fatal crashes on its highways involving alcohol at 36 percent.” The article also mentioned that last year more than 30 percent of DWI arrests were related to drug impairment, not alcohol. I don’t think the councilman is opposed to enforcement it just seems to me he thinks there may be better ways to discourage DUI behavior. “If we are going to encourage and profit from consumption of alcoholic beverages, then we should do all we can to ensure folks get home safely without being charged with a DWI.”

  3. Alan Ditmore

    Higher unit density means LESS traffic, not more, because such density enables people to walk, bike, bus and carpool!

  4. SGrrg

    The 47,000 annual average daily volume is actually for the stretch of I-26 between New Stock and Weaver Blvd. There is no data on Aiken Road except for the stretch right off of Weaverville Rd. going in and out of that Craftsman village development.

    • Dan Hesse

      Good afternoon,
      Thank you for pointing this out. The article has been edited to reflect the change.

  5. Rebecca

    Alan Ditmore The 296 unit proposed apartment complex on Aiken Rd. and Country Oak Drive will create more traffic on Aiken Rd; an already extremely busy narrow rural road with a deep ditch line on both sides of the road. It is not a safe place for bike riding or walking. Car pooling would be a better idea but probably will not happen because residents may not work at the same location or in the same direction. Traffic and safety is definitely a major concern to us who reside in the area. The proposed area is beautiful and consists of a lot of wildlife such as deer and bear they will be destroyed as well as our privacy, our environment, lifestyle and cost of living. This project is not going to stop with the apartment complex. A substantial amount of acreage connecting to this property is also being looked at for more development. The only safe place to walk or ride a bike will be in their own complex. It is very difficult to get off the side roads onto Aiken Road in a car let alone a bike; if you were to walk or bike to the closest grocery store or convenience store you would be taking a huge risk with your life.

  6. Rebecca.

    Alan Ditmore – The 296 unit proposed apartment complex on Aiken Rd. And Country Oak Drive will create more traffic on Aiken Rd; an already extremely busy narrow rural road with deep ditch line on both sides of the road. It is not a safe place for bike riding. Car pooling would be a better idea but probably will not happen because residents may not work at the same location or in the same direction. The surrounding neighborhood consists of 80% home ownership the apartment complex will reduce that number to around 50%. Traffic and safety is definitely a major concern to us who reside in the area. The proposed area is beautiful and consists of a lot of wildlife such as deer and bear they will be destroyed as well as our privacy, our environment, lifestyle and cost of living. The proposed project will also affect our property values as well.

    • Alan Ditmore

      If the potential residents are forced to commute from Madison or Haywood County, they will use more gas and hit more wildlife than they will on Aikin Rd. Also the increased usage will motivate the construction or even kid clearing of bike paths and out of hundreds of residents, plenty will work in the same direction to carpool. Remember that if you pick up litter, they will raise your rent. BMX bikes can even ride in ditches.

      • Alan Ditmore

        This property is right on the superhighway, which has a paved shoulder plenty wide for bicycles and which goes almost directly to the grocery store. Though bikers would have to change state law ( and perhaps federal) to use that full width bike lane, I’m certainly not going to deprive them housing if they fail to do so.

    • Alan Ditmore

      It seems to me that as apartment dwelling kids on BMX bicycles practice lane control on Aiken road, they will slow traffic to 15 mph and this will protect nearby wildlife a great deal. Street Hockey would protect wildlife even more.

  7. Alan Ditmore

    Bikes can also slow traffic a great deal on roads like Aiken simply by practicing lane control and blocking cars from trying to pass them in no passing zones. With any luck plenty of bikes from the new apartments will do this constantly.

    • Jay Reese

      Love it! Finally someone else agrees with my belief bikes act as traffic calming devices. I We definitely need more cyclist on the roads.

      • Alan Ditmore

        repaving also encourages speeding and wastes money. speed humps form by themselves over time for free.

  8. Alan Ditmore

    I find my 1 liter, 3 cylinder engine can run efficiently while stuck behind a bicycle on a narrow road, enabling me to follow for some distance without wasting gas. More BMX bikes on such roads would motivate more people to buy cars with smaller engines that can cruise efficiently at 15 mph behind tenant kid on a bmx bike.

  9. Alan Ditmore

    Tell me Rebecca how many miles per gallon does your car get at 15 mph behind a bicycle? I guess We’ll be finding out!

  10. Alan Ditmore

    An alternative without construction would be to make Aiken Rd. one way and devote the other lane entirely to bicycles and pedestrians, and stores and jobs are certainly in biking distance of many apartment dwellers. I think this option would protect wildlife somewhat but not nearly as much as it would be protected if large numbers of biking apartment dwellers were to practice lane control and slow all traffic to 15 mph, which is likely happen with current policy, needing only cultural and no legal stimulus other than permitting the necessary apartments. Though it would help if there were more apartments than parking spaces to further attract apartment dwellers who do not own cars.

    • Jay Reese

      Yea we definitely need to reduce parking every where to encourage cycling.

      • Alan Ditmore

        I don’t practice lane control unless I must, but that is the solution to the kind of road Rebecca describes, not banning homebuilding and CAUSING HOMELESSNESS AND SPRAWL! Or dismissing any road (including I-26) as being too dangerous for bicycles. I-26 has a fine bike lane!

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