The updates, which have been controversial, are meant to encourage the construction of affordable housing by reducing and simplifying building regulations and incentivizing stormwater management.
The approved budget more than $30.1 million for the Asheville Police Department, $500,000 for the city’s reparations fund, $108,000 to create an urban forester position and $300,000 to increase full-time employee salaries, among other items.
Of 80 microhousing units, 16 would be designated as affordable for people earning at or below 80% of the area median income. However, developer David Moritz confirmed that market-price rent for all of the project’s units would be about $1,000 including utilities, meaning that the city-subsidized units would not immediately be cheaper for their tenants.
The Buncombe County Board of Elections won’t officially certify the results until Friday, May 27, and the N.C. Board of Elections will issue its own certification Thursday, June 9. But even with those steps still to come, there’s plenty to learn from the unofficial results.
The city used a scoring system to winnow the field of applicants, but at least one council member questions the fairness of that approach.
Primary candidates in the 2022 Asheville mayoral election share their positions with Xpress.
Members of Asheville City Council discussed transit, parking revenues, personnel costs and weighed funding options for the newly approved updates to Memorial Stadium.
An exchange between protesters and Asheville City Council member Sandra Kilgore marked the start of Council’s March 17-18 retreat, where the elected officials heard feedback from top city staffers and plotted their approach to the coming year.
“There are a lot of conversations that could have been had around this conversation that were limited — they were hindered, they were gaslit, they were triggered and electrified — just because bad information was released to the public,” said Vice Mayor Sheneika Smith.
During a presentation, Capt. Mike Lamb of the Asheville Police Department cited data showing that 10% of overall crime in Asheville from Jan. 1, 2020 to Jan. 9, 2022 — including 14% of violent crime and 8.5% of property crime — occurred within 500 feet of an encampment.
With only Antanette Mosley opposed, Asheville City Council members voted Dec. 14 to approve the conversion of an East Asheville Ramada Inn into permanent supportive housing for at least 100 homeless residents — a project first floated to the public less than two weeks earlier.
Starting Friday, Sept. 24, local organizations can submit projects in the following categories for grants from the federal funds: affordable housing, care for aging residents, climate change, city infrastructure, domestic violence prevention and assistance, food systems, homelessness services, public engagement, revenue losses, small business recovery and workforce development.
The office finds itself without any permanent staff and has no public process for hiring new employees. The vacancies come after a wave of resignations, as well as public criticism from former employees and elected leaders about a lack of support and accountability for equity work.
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.
Some additional revenue will be needed to fund a growing list of priorities for the 2021-22 annual operating budget, city staffers suggested at an April 27 Asheville City Council budget work session.
Asheville has issued removal orders for camps at Martin Luther King Jr. Park, Aston Park, along Cherry and Hill streets and at Riverbend Park near the Walmart Supercenter on Bleachery Boulevard in East Asheville.
Eventually, the city plans to use the land to revamp Deaverview into a “purpose built community,” which, according to the Atlanta-based nonprofit steering the national model, would help local leaders create “greater racial equity, economic mobility and improved health outcomes for families and children.”
As the sometimes contentious discussions unfolded, members grappled with ambitious priorities for the upcoming year, and, perhaps more importantly, what their working relationships would look like for the next 18 months.
In a change from previous City Council practice, and in opposition to advice provided by a UNC School of Government expert on open meetings, Asheville City Council plans to go ahead with a closed-door meeting devoted to “strengthening personal relationships, teamwork and communication required to do meaningful work together” on Wednesday, March 31.
“It goes without saying that the protests were unprecedented in the city and for law enforcement officers nationwide,” said Asheville Police Chief David Zack. “Never before had APD encountered a protest where the emotional intensity was directed solely at the police.”
“I’m looking forward to the day we can have a centerpiece in our city that reflects Asheville today,” said Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer. “And I’m proud to be part of the Council that will make this change.”