Government Accountability Project Asheville

P

REPORT BACK STATUS

Satisfactory (Response Received)

Asheville City Council considers conditional zoning for project off Smokey Park Highway

Background: Developers asked the Asheville City Council to rezone an area along Smokey Park Highway so they can move forward with a project that will include commercial units and 350 residential units. At the time of its proposal, there was no plan to offer any affordable housing units on the property. Since the City Council has the power to set conditions for this kind of rezoning, we thought they might push these developers to explore the possibility of offering at least some affordable housing units for this project. Given how starved our region is for affordable housing, we didn’t think the City should be green-lighting any projects that won’t offer any affordable units.

Our Ask

We invited folks to email the Asheville City Council to encourage them to use their power to set conditions for rezoning requests like this, and insist that some of the proposed units in this development be offered at affordable rates.

Report Back

Update 6/27/24: A GAP Supporter got an email from Council Member Maggie Ullman, in which she she said she had been “discussing the need for affordable housing with the developer” and was “hopeful we hear this in the updated proposal this evening (City Council Meeting on 6/25/24).” At that meeting, the developer did in fact introduce some modifications to the original proposal: that they were prepared to offer 10% of the units at 80% of Area Median Income for ten years. The item received a unanimous 6-0 vote of approval from the City Council.

A small number of minimally-affordable units for a short time feels like a small gesture, and doesn’t address our community’s critical need for more deeply affordable housing. That said, we asked the City Council to push for “some” affordable housing, rather than none, and they did that. While we’re not entirely satisfied, we are marking this item “satisfactory,” since our ask was answered, and we’re not recommending further advocacy at this time.

GAP Supporter Actions Taken: 5

Recipients and Responses:

Asheville City Council

  • Mayor Esther Manheimer: No response
  • Vice Mayor Sandra Kilgore: No response
  • City Council Member Antanette Mosley: No response
  • City Council Member Kim Roney: No response
  • City Council Member Maggie Ullman: Responded, See Above
  • City Council Member Sage Turner: No response
  • City Council Member Sheneika Smith: No response