Use our prepared email template to take action on this week’s item.
Things that seem problematic
Asheville City Council Agenda – Public hearing to conditionally rezone 2 Butler Road from Community Business II District to Residential Expansion – Conditional Zone (staff memo)
Developers are asking for a zoning change in order to build a total of 279 units in five 4- to 5-story multi-family buildings. They plan for 10% of the units to be “affordable at 80% Area Median Income (AMI) for a minimum of 20 years.” The developers say “up to half” of those “affordable” units will accept Housing Choice Vouchers.
This project, which we reported on in our October 9th GAP Report, is a perfect illustration of how so-called “affordable” housing is actually playing a pivotal role in driving Black and Latinx people out of this region. A recent analysis by Thrive Asheville (which you can read in its entirety here and which was reported on this week in this Citizen-Times article) addresses this reality squarely: So-called “affordable housing” for those earning 80% Area Median Income (AMI) “actually (increases) the disparity of available homes to those most in need and households with children.”
Black and Latine families in our region have a median income that is below 50% of AMI. Projects like this one, with a small number of slightly reduced units, will not address their need for more deeply affordable housing. If approved, this development will instead continue the trend of making the City increasingly unaffordable for Black and Latine folks. The Asheville City Council should push back against the developers’ proposal and demand that more truly affordable housing be included in this development.
Things to do
Write to the Asheville City Council and ask them to take a stand for more deeply affordable housing.
We have prepared an email template that addresses this issue. You can (a) use our City Council template link to open up an email to adapt, (b) copy and paste the content below, or (c) write your own message to AshevilleNCCouncil@ashevillenc.gov.
EMAIL TEMPLATE TEXT
You can open this email in your own email program by clicking here. To proceed manually, you can copy and paste the text below into an email and then address it to the address listed. Please consider making edits that reflect your personal interests and concerns on this issue.
Send to: AshevilleNCCouncil@ashevillenc.gov
Subject: 2 Butler Road proposal will decrease Asheville’s diversity
Dear City Council Members,
I was recently made aware of Thrive Asheville’s 2023 Opening Doors report, completed “in collaboration with City staff and housing experts.” It documents that much of so-called “affordable housing,” which is only available to families making 80% of Area Median Income (AMI) or above, is actually not affordable to almost all Black and Latine families in the Asheville-Buncombe region.
You have a rezoning request scheduled for your November 14, 2023 meeting that would result in the development of residential housing at 2 Butler Road. In the staff memo that accompanies this proposal, it’s suggested that this project promotes the availability of affordable housing, because it offers 10% of its units at 80% AMI. Because Black and Latine residents’ median income is below 50% AMI, it’s unlikely that any of this housing would be available to them. Thrive Asheville’s analysis points out that “building more units for households making… 80% AMI and above may actually increase the disparity of available homes to those most in need and households with children.” I encourage you to push back on this rezoning request, which will only continue the trend of making Asheville less diverse, and send a message that Asheville is committed to housing that is actually affordable.
Thank you for your leadership,