Government Accountability Project Asheville

GAP Report for 5/2/22

May 2, 2022

URGENT

  • 0 items

PROBLEMATIC

  • 2 items

CONCERNS

  • 0 items

POSITIVE

  • 2 items

The Buncombe County Commission meets this Tuesday (5/3/22) at 5 pm. You can attend the meeting at 200 College Street, Suite 326 in downtown Asheville. You can watch the meeting online at the County’s Facebook page. The full agenda is here.

There are four items that the GAP Strategy Team identified as relevant to racial justice this week.

q

RED:

Things that seem problematic

Asheville Housing and Community Development Committee Meeting on 4/27/22 (agenda)

A proposed development in Southside was voted out of committee by Council Members Mosley and Turner, but opposed by Vice Mayor Smith, citing gentrification and affordability concerns. The development would offer 16 of its 80 units (20%) at 80% below Area Median Income (AMI) for 20 years.

We share Vice Mayor Smith’s concerns about this project, which offers minimal affordability for too brief a period of time. 80% of AMI is still not affordable for the vast majority of folks who need affordable housing. We would suggest that 60% of AMI or below is a minimal starting point, and that this project (and others like it) should also accept housing choice vouchers. Also, we would encourage City Council to follow up on their welcome move last week, where they insisted that the Deaverview Apartments be affordable into perpetuity, by pushing for these units to be made permanently affordable.

Things to do

We encourage you to reach out to the Asheville City Council via email (ashevillenccouncil@ashevillenc.gov). Urge them to insist on affordable housing that’s truly affordable: a baseline of 60% of Area Median Income (AMI), the acceptance of housing choice vouchers, and affordable units into perpetuity rather than only for a set period of time.

(Be sure to also thank them for insisting on permanent affordability with the Deaverview rebuild – see first green item below.)

County Commission Agenda – Board Appointments for the Juvenal Crime Prevention Council

There is one nominee for this appointment.

As we noted a few weeks ago, the County does not provide any information about candidates for these Board appointments, and therefore offers no way for the community to assess them. The Buncombe County Communications Office said that they would be happy to provide such information, but need to be so directed by the County Commission.

Things to do

We encourage you to reach out to the County Commissioners via their contact page. Ask them to instruct County staff to provide background information on Board appointments, so that the public can better assess (and weigh in on) future County Commission appointments.

GREEN:

Things that sound like a step in the right direction

Asheville City Council Public Hearing on 4/26/22 to consider conditional zoning for Deaverview Apartments rebuild

City Council voted to delay their vote on a rezoning request from the Asheville Housing Authority until May 10th, in order to ensure that this housing development is permanently affordable, instead of just for 30 years.

We suggested this delay in our report last week, and applaud City Council for taking this necessary step. We salute the leadership of Council Member Gwen Wisler for raising this issue, and appreciate the other Council Members for voting unanimously in favor of this delay.

Things to do

We encourage you to reach out to the Asheville City Council via email (ashevillenccouncil@ashevillenc.gov). Thank them for insisting that the rezoning of Deaverview be contingent on permanent affordability.

(Be sure to suggest that they also set a stronger standard for all affordable housing going forward – see first red item above.)

Community Reparations Commission Meeting on 4/30/22 (documents)

The Community Reparations Commission held their first meeting, during which Dr. Dwight Mullen was selected as the Chairperson and Ms. Dewana Little was selected as the Vice Chair.

We are encouraged to see this process underway, and applaud the selection of Dr. Mullen and Ms. Little as Chair and Vice Chair.

Things to do

If you weren’t able to attend the meeting in person or online, we encourage you to check out the recording and other materials on the Commission’s page. We’ll keep you posted on future meetings as they are confirmed.