Use our prepared email templates to take action on this week’s items.
Things that seem problematic
Asheville City Council Agenda, New Business A: Resolution to allocate $6 Million of the remaining 2016 Affordable Housing Bond funds to the Housing Trust Fund (Staff Report)
The City passed a $25 million affordable housing bond in 2016, and those funds need to be allocated by 2023. This resolution proposes to shift $6 million of those funds that are still unallocated into the Housing Trust Fund. The Affordable Housing Advisory Committee has “requested a priority focus of reallocated bond funds… encouraging the redevelopment of sites within the Urban Renewal and redlining maps.”
We are troubled at the prospect of pushing forward with redevelopment plans within areas impacted by Urban Renewal and redlining while the Community Reparations Commission process is still very much underway. We think it’s essential that the City (and County) follow the lead of that Commission on what to do with that land, and not presume that it will be used for affordable housing. We are also concerned that there is no accounting in the staff report for those projects that were part of the original 2016 bond vision that presumably are now not going to get funding. Where was the $6 supposed to be spent and why wasn’t it?
Things to do
We encourage you to reach out to the Asheville City Council and convey the importance of following the lead of the Community Reparations Commission on areas impacted by Urban Renewal and redlining. You might also ask them to share which affordable housing projects that were part of the 2016 bond vision were not completed. You can use our template link to open up an email to adapt, copy and paste the content below, or write your own message to AshevilleNCCouncil@ashevillenc.gov.
Things of concern, more information needed
Asheville City Council Agenda, City Manager’s Report: First Quarter Fiscal Year 2023 Financial Report; African American Heritage Resource Survey; Burton Street Architectural Survey
There were no documents shared on this portion of the agenda.
We can’t comment on any of these items, because the City Manager didn’t share any information about them, as of the middle of the day Monday, October 24th. The City Manager’s tendency to delay the sharing of her reports makes meaningful engagement from the community very challenging.
Things to do
We encourage you to reach out to the City Manager’s office and request that documents accompanying City Council agenda items be published at least two business days prior to the meeting, so that community members can have some opportunity to review them in advance. You can use our template link to open up an email to adapt, copy and paste the content below, or write your own message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Things that sound like a step in the right direction
“Close the GAP” is the City’s integrated Greenway Master Plan, Americans with Disabilities Act Transition Plan for public rights-of-way, and Pedestrian Master Plan. (You can read the whole plan here.)
We’re impressed with the comprehensiveness of this plan, and with the fact that particular attention was paid to the impact on legacy neighborhoods. It seems like a step in the right direction.
CITY COUNCIL EMAIL TEMPLATE TEXT
Subject: Two Items on your Tuesday Agenda
Dear City Council Members,
I’m writing today in reference to several items on your agenda.
Regarding the proposal to shift $6 million from a 2016 affordable housing bond to the Housing Trust Fund, I wonder which projects that were part of the original plan have been dropped – the staff report doesn’t reference how that $6 million was supposed to be spent and why plans have changed. I’m also concerned about a reference in the staff report to using these redirected funds to encourage “the redevelopment of sites within the Urban Renewal and redlining maps.” I feel strongly that the City should wait for the recommendations from the Community Reparations Commission on how to use that land.
I’d also like to convey my support for Council to adopt the Close the GAP plan. I’m impressed with the comprehensiveness of this plan, and with the fact that particular attention was paid to the impact on legacy neighborhoods. It seems like a step in the right direction.
Thanks for your leadership,
CITY MANAGER EMAIL TEMPLATE TEXT
Subject: Please share your City Manager Reports two days in advance
Dear City Manager Campbell,
I’m writing to request that your office share the documents that accompany your reports to City Council at least two business days before the meeting. When your reports aren’t included with the rest of the agenda, it’s very challenging for community members to be able to review and engage with the information in advance of the meeting.
Thanks for your leadership,