Charlotte Street’s historic buildings are about to get a contemporary neighbor after members of Asheville City Council approved a new mixed-use development for the neighborhood.
In a pair of votes on Oct. 12, Council approved conditional zoning and a land use incentive grant for the project at 130 Charlotte St, the former location of Fuddruckers restaurant. The development will include 186 residential units, along with roughly 4,500 square feet of commercial and retail space, approximately 230 parking spaces in an underground garage and six parking spaces on East Chestnut Street.
The grant, which will provide the project’s developer, Kassinger Development Group, with annual rebates of city property taxes on the value of the project for 16 years — a total estimated value of over $1.5 million — was approved unanimously. Council member Kim Roney was the sole vote against the conditional zoning, arguing that the project didn’t offer enough affordable housing.
The project will include 37 rental apartments that are deed-restricted for 30 years for families earning at or below 80% of the area median income ($60,100 for a family of four). Half of those units will also accept federal housing vouchers and rental assistance for individuals and families at or below 60% AMI.
Ten people spoke against the project during the public hearing prior to Council’s votes over concerns it would increase traffic and alter the neighborhood’s character. The property is located in the Chestnut Hill Historic District, an area listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and was originally zoned for a maximum of 50 units per acre. The new development will nearly double that density.
Council also received an additional 55 emails and nine voicemails in opposition to the development, despite the developer scaling back the project’s parking and commercial elements after meeting with neighborhood groups.
“We’re not going to have a quaint little village anymore where businesses and families thrive, but we’re going to have gridlock,” said resident Paula Coughlin during the meeting.
“Once you change the overlay, the [Unified Development Ordinance], you give conditional zoning, when does it stop, and where does it stop?” added resident Carolyn Warner. “Why can’t the areas around Asheville that are already brownfields, grey fields — Tunnel Road, Patton Avenue, areas that have already been destroyed — be the areas to infill with affordable housing and keep the historic entrances like Charlotte Street the way it is?”
But Council members who supported the project, including Antanette Mosley, highlighted the project’s contribution to housing in an area with a dearth of affordable options. Paul D’Angelo, Asheville’s community development director, noted that the area was one of the highest earning census tracts in the city, while Shannon Tuch, the city’s principal planner, said that approximately five units of affordable housing exist within the area, which were approved in 2009.
Consultant outlines reparations program plan
Debra Clark Jones, president of TEQuity — the consulting firm selected by City Manager Debra Campbell to manage the city’s reparations program — provided an overview of the next steps her team will take with the goal of developing short-, medium- and long-term recommendations.
Clark Jones said that the firm will first focus on seating the 25-member Community Reparations Commission, which will include 13 representatives from neighborhoods impacted by redlining and gentrification, such as Burton Street, East End/Valley Street, Shiloh and Southside, as well as Asheville Housing Authority communities. (Asheville’s resolution supporting reparations had called for the commission to be established by July.)
City Council and the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners will each appoint six additional commission members. Applications will open Monday, Oct. 18, and will be accepted through Monday, Nov. 15.
Clark Jones said that the commission appointments will be finalized by January 2022. More information about how to apply or nominate someone for the commission is available at avl.mx/an0.