Complete Democratic control of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, a better-than-expected performance by Jasmine Beach-Ferrara and $70 million in new spending for county initiatives all emerged from this year’s midterm election results.
General election candidates for the 2022 Asheville City Council race share their positions with Xpress.
Mayor Esther Manheimer and climate change consultant Maggie Ullman Berthiaume have raised the most campaign funds so far in this year’s race for Asheville city government positions, according to reports filed by candidates’ campaigns. Manheimer had raised $19,550 as of mid-July, while Berthiaume had taken $29,442 in donations.
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.
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.
“Among Asheville’s leaders, she has distinguished herself as a brave community representative with the grace of humility and giving and has so often boldly been on target with the city’s needs.”
Primary candidates for the 2022 Asheville City Council race share their positions with Xpress.
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.
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.
“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.”
Following a pair of votes for different methods of picking the school board at Council’s meeting of March 9, the final say on its composition now rests with the N.C. General Assembly, which must pass legislation to enact any 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.
The new regulations allow hotels with 115 rooms or fewer to avoid a Council vote if they meet a series of design requirements, are located in a newly approved overlay district and contribute to equity-related public benefits.
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.
Daniel Withrow, president of the Asheville City Association of Educators, says that his organization had been preparing to make its first-ever endorsements for Asheville City Board of Education seats this year but was caught off guard when Asheville City Council voted to trim the candidate pool ahead of its posted schedule.
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.
Members will discuss the final proposed guidelines to streamline future lodging development — and residents will have one last chance to weigh in — before the city’s hotel moratorium expires on Tuesday, Feb. 23.