An action plan county staffers presented to the Board of Commissioners Oct. 18 includes steps to help owners of cheaper homes seek reductions if they think the county has valued their homes too highly, to get property owners to report when they upgrade their homes and to refine some aspects of how Buncombe’s appraisers do their jobs.
Issues of racial and economic equity dominated the debate over residential valuations, with critics arguing that Buncombe’s practices are unfair to low-income residents and communities of color. While those issues aren’t immediately apparent with commercial property, suggests ad hoc committee member Ori Baber, other deficiencies with county assessments likely do carry over from the residential side.
The county’s ad hoc reappraisal committee, tasked with reviewing allegations that Buncombe’s tax assessment process was unfair to low-income residents and communities of color, presented its recommendations to the board. And commissioners approved annual funding for reparations, honoring a request from the joint Asheville-Buncombe Community Reparations Commission.
In response to a report by Asheville-based planning firm Urban3, Newman tasked county Tax Assessor Keith Miller with forming an ad hoc committee to provide guidance for future tax assessments and identify potential equity concerns. The committee presented its recommendations to the county July 19.
A 10-month review, designed to address citizen complaints and equity concerns about Buncombe County’s approach to property assessment, is scheduled to conclude at the Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday, July 19.
During its June 22 meeting, Asheville City Council voted 6-1 to approve the $201.67 million operating budget for fiscal year 2021-22, which includes an effective property tax increase of 2 cents per $100 in valuation and $8.7 million in new spending. Kim Roney was the sole vote against the budget, arguing that the tax increase would harm poorer residents.
Buncombe County Board of Commissioners Chair Brownie Newman lists land use policy as a top priority for the new commission, sworn in on Dec. 7. Board members will likely revisit the county’s land use plan, a document originally developed in 1998 and last updated in 2013, in response to rapid community growth.
Reid Thompson has lost the most recent battle in his 13-plus-year fight with the city of Asheville. But the war, suggested Thompson’s representative and urban planner Joe Minicozzi, is far from over. “He’s got to file a civil suit to get his civil rights upheld,” Minicozzi said. “You can’t enforce the law on one side of the street and not enforce it on the other.”
Reid Thompson, the owner of 28 and 32 Maxwell St., seeks to rezone those properties from residential to lodging expansion, thereby allowing their short-term vacation rental use — because the activity of Greenlife Grocery, he says, has made it impossible for him to keep long-term tenants.
As Asheville gears up to begin a new chapter in its administration, Xpress asks what lessons, if any, can be learned from Jackson’s time as the city’s top employee. But given the reluctance of so many current and former city officials to discuss either Jackson’s firing or his legacy, any final assessment of this recent history may have to wait.
At the Asheville Downtown Association’s annual State of Downtown luncheon, Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer and Buncombe County Commission Chair Brownie Newman touted lists of major public projects and initiatives that benefit downtown. Meanwhile, urban planning consultant Joe Minicozzi argued that tax revenue data show more municipal investment in downtown is both warranted and needed.
As commercial rents rise ever higher in Asheville’s downtown, local business owners and other community members hope the area’s popularity won’t lead to increasing homogenization, the proliferation of national chains and the loss of the city’s unique character.
The Council of Independent Business Owners has been called a lot of things over the years.
Few could argue that the nonprofit — whose members serve on such powerful public bodies as Asheville’s City Council and Planning and Zoning Commission, the Western North Carolina Regional Air Quality Agency’s board and the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners — lacks influence. But how far does it reach? And does the group still have the kind of impact that it did in the past?
The Atlantic‘s Cities blog has featured Asheville’s downtown redevelopment efforts, especially those of Public Interest Projects, as an example of “the simple math that can save cities from bankruptcy.”
The Asheville Downtown Association has released a video of the presentation Joe Minicozzi gave at the Feb. 20 Mountain Voices Alliance water system forum. The presentation lasts 6 minutes and 19 seconds. Topics include differential water rates, local representation on the Metropolitan Sewerage/Water System Committee, and more.
Are these street sweepers the future for cleaner sidewalks in downtown Asheville?
The appointment of Holly Shriner, a housewife with no formal planning background, to the Asheville Planning and Zoning Commission has raised concerns about her qualifications.
The Asheville Design Center (ADC), which has been involved voluntarily with the work on the I-26 project since 2006, anticipates that the N.C. Department of Transportation will vote soon to include Alternate 4b in their Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). When this happens, we will have better data available to plan and communicate changes that will […]
Parkside “zombie” returns; activists want eminent domain In a rare 3-2 vote, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners narrowly agreed to delay endorsing one of the remaining options for the controversial I-26 connector until more information has come in. But less than 48 hours later, Commissioner K. Ray Bailey changed his mind, joining forces with […]
Buncombe County Board of Commissioners’ Dec. 16 meeting