Government Accountability Project Asheville

The Asheville City Council meets this Tuesday, February 13th, 2023 at 5 pm. You can attend the meeting on the 2nd Floor of City Hall, 70 Court Plaza in downtown Asheville. You can watch the meeting online at this link.The full agenda for the formal meeting is here.

The next meeting of the Community Reparations Commission is Monday, February 19th from 6 pm to 8 pm. The meeting will be held at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center Banquet Hall at 87 Haywood Street in Asheville. The public is welcome to attend. Meeting materials will be available here. You can watch the meeting live (or a recording of it later) online here.

URGENT

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PROBLEMATIC

  • 2 Items

CONCERNS

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POSITIVE

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EMAIL TEMPLATES

Use our prepared email template to take action on this week’s items.

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Things that seem problematic

City Council Agenda: Public Hearing B – Public hearing to consider an amendment to the Unified Development Ordinance to revise the cottage development standards. (Staff memo)

This is a proposal to expand the conditions under which property owners can build smaller (cottage) housing units, in addition to a primary dwelling. From the staff memo: “Engagement sessions found that while there is an understanding of the need for more housing, concerns exist regarding emergency access, backyard home impacts on desired neighborhood development patterns, displacement and gentrification, tree canopy reduction and open space reduction.”

In the petition calling for this change, the stated purpose is “to increase the stock of housing affordable at the ‘workforce’ and ‘affordable’ housing levels.” However, the staff memo points out that there is “no provision requiring the creation of affordable housing on reduced requirement cottage developments in effect or proposed.” The staff report concludes by recommending that “no amendments move forward at this time.”

We agree with the staff conclusion that these proposed amendments be rejected. We are not satisfied that the concerns raised by community members, especially those that point to how this could contribute to displacement and gentrification, have been adequately addressed. Until they are, any amendment to existing regulations should be postponed.

Things to do

Write to the Asheville City Council and encourage them to reject any proposed amendments to the cottage development standards until community concerns about displacement and gentrification are addressed.

We have prepared an email template that you can use to contact the Asheville City Council. You can (a) use this 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

City Council Agenda: Public Hearing C – Public hearing to consider an amendment to the Unified Development Ordinance to revise the flag lot standards. (Staff memo)

This is a proposal to expand the conditions under which property owners can subdivide their property by creating secondary “flag lots.” Community engagement around these proposed changes found similar concerns as those described in the cottage development amendments above. The staff report concludes by recommending that “no amendments move forward at this time.”

Once again, we agree with the staff conclusion that these proposed amendments be rejected. As with the cottage development amendments described above, we are not satisfied that the concerns raised by community members, especially those that point to how this could contribute to displacement and gentrification, have been adequately addressed. Until they are, any amendment to existing regulations should be postponed.

Things to do

Write to the Asheville City Council and encourage them to reject any proposed amendments to the flag lot regulations until community concerns about displacement and gentrification are addressed.

We have prepared an email template that you can use to contact the Asheville City Council. You can (a) use this 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

CITY COUNCIL 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: Stand against displacement and gentrification

Dear City Council Members,

There are two public hearings on your agenda for Tuesday, February 13th, both of which relate to proposed changes in the Unified Development Ordinance, and both of which are being touted as ways to increase affordable housing. I’m concerned that there is no provision in either of these proposals that actually facilitates or ensures that they will lead to any increase in affordable housing. Community engagement by the City revealed concerns that these changes could lead to more displacement of Black and Latine families from our City. I encourage you to push back on these proposals, and insist that future amendments be designed to decrease rather than increase the dangerous drift toward further gentrification in our City, which is endangering so many vulnerable community members.

Thanks for your leadership,