More than six years after first approving the project, Asheville City Council is circling back to the mixed-use development known as the RAD Lofts. During a public hearing at Council’s meeting of Tuesday, Jan. 14, officials will be asked to substantially scale back their affordability requirements for 235 housing units at the site.
The previously approved conditional zoning for the project, a proposal of Asheville-based developer Harry Pilos, required 5% of the total units to be offered according to the city’s standard of affordability at 80% area median income ($53,086 for a family of four). The remaining 95% of the units were required to be leased for rates affordable to those at or below the city’s workforce housing baseline, or 120% of the area median income.
According to a staff report available before the meeting, Pilos is now asking for only 10% of units in the development to be covered by affordability restrictions. Those units would be guaranteed by a deed restriction as affordable to residents at 80% AMI for a period of 10 years.
The report says that Pilos has claimed to face “difficulties securing financing for the project with the comprehensive restrictions on rents and balancing the more extensive affordability requirement with significant increases in construction costs.” Staff members recommend approving his request, saying this approach maintains “as much commitment to affordability as the applicant is able to provide.”
First approved in October 2013, the RAD Lofts project is expected to contain 17,000 square feet of commercial space and 375 garage parking spaces in addition to the residential units. Council has since reconsidered the project on three separate occasions to revise conditions relating to building size, use mix and parking availability.
In other news
City Manager Debra Campbell will provide a six-month update on Council’s initiatives relating to transit. No information on the report was provided ahead of the meeting; however, the city recently implemented its first round of changes to the bus system listed in the 2018 Transit Master Plan.
Council’s consent agenda for the meeting contains 10 items, which will be approved as a package unless singled out for separate discussion. Highlights include resolutions to:
- Support the city of Asheville’s participation in the Local Government Climate Litigation Amicus Brief Project. Asheville will serve as a “friend of the court” as the nonprofit Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School challenges recent rollbacks of national climate protections enacted by the administration of President Donald Trump.
- Authorize the city manager to enter into a contract of up to $215,965, with Horseshoe-based Austin Construction & Grading for improvements to the Ray L. Kisiah Park and batting cage.
- Authorize the city manager to enter into a lease agreement for a property located at 9 Walden Ridge in South Asheville that will serve as the new South Asheville Police Resource Center. The city’s monthly rent for the 5,941 square foot property is estimated at approximately $6,436.
Asheville City Council meets at 5 p.m. in Council chambers on the second floor of City Hall at 70 Court Plaza, Asheville. The full meeting agenda and supporting documents can be found here.