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.
Buncombe County’s latest Point-In-Time count — meant to record every resident sleeping on the streets, at a shelter or in transitional housing on a single night — found 232 unsheltered residents in January 2022, up from the 116 people counted a year before. Overall homelessness in the county increased by about 21% over the same period.
Members of Asheville City Council discussed transit, parking revenues, personnel costs and weighed funding options for the newly approved updates to Memorial Stadium.
Neighborhood residents had been asking for a new track as part of renovations to Memorial Stadium since 2017, after Asheville voters approved a $74 million bond issue in 2016.
In February, Asheville unveiled a plan to reduce the number of advisory groups from 20 to four. Each of those boards would be capped at 11 members, meaning the number of residents who serve in a regular advisory role would be cut by roughly 80%.
“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.
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.
“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.”
Two proposals are up for consideration. One outlines a request for a fully elected school board; the other sets up a hybrid model in which Council would appoint two members and allow ACS district residents to elect the other three.
“I’m really struggling with this process as a parent, as a councilor,” said Asheville City Council member Sage Turner, as her colleagues considered how they would appoint three members of the Asheville City Board of Education. “I’m really struggling with us not listening to teachers.”
Hoteliers and hotel opponents alike have waited since September 2019 for Asheville City Council to reach a decision about future lodging development within city limits. On Tuesday, Feb. 23, the countdown clock finally hits zero.
After months of discussion, two Council work sessions and multiple opportunities for public engagement, frustrated residents told Asheville City Council the final hotel proposals did little to advance equity or support employees working in the service industry.
If Asheville City Council wants to bring any legislation before the state General Assembly this year — including the creation of an elected board for Asheville City Schools or changes to the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority’s room tax allocation — its members need to make those decisions in the coming weeks.
The Asheville Police Department has followed through with a number of promises Chief David Zack made in June. But the one demand residents and activists repeatedly called for — that the city divest from the APD and invest resources in Asheville’s Black community — has not been heard, some community members say.
On Dec. 8, Asheville City Council voted to move forward with the removal of the downtown obelisk, which memorializes Confederate Gov. Zebulon Vance. Sandra Kilgore was the only member in opposition.
Mayor Esther Manheimer emailed Xpress the evening of Dec. 7 to say that Council was moving the Vance item from reports to new business, allowing for both public comment and a vote. She did not immediately respond to a request for clarification regarding the rationale behind that change.
Sandra Kilgore, Sage Turner and Kim Roney will officially become Asheville City Council members on Tuesday, Dec. 1. And on Dec. 7, newcomers Terri Wells and Parker Sloan will be sworn in to the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners alongside returning incumbents Jasmine Beach-Ferrara and Brownie Newman.
As newly elected Asheville City Council members Sandra Kilgore, Sage Turner and Kim Roney embark on a new chapter of civic leadership following a close race, they inherit controversial priorities from the outgoing Council that will likely dominate the first few months of their term.
Xpress has compiled election night summaries for each of the contests previously included in our general election voter guide. The Buncombe County Board of Elections will not officially certify results until Friday, Nov. 13, and the state board will not issue certification until Tuesday, Nov. 24.
Zoning may not deliver the same zing as other hot-button issues in a competitive election cycle, but it’s among the most crucial discussions Asheville leaders and residents face as the city grows. Each candidate has different ideas about what to do first.