© 2024 Blue Ridge Public Radio
Blue Ridge Mountains banner background
Your source for information and inspiration in Western North Carolina.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Stay on the pulse of the decisions being made at meetings for Asheville City Council and Buncombe County Commission, with reports from BPR’s Laura Hackett.

Last night at Council: Approval of 349-unit housing development near Buncombe Sports Park

The Asheville City Council meeting ran to 8:30 p.m.
Laura Hackett
The Asheville City Council meeting ran to 8:30 p.m.

On Tuesday night, Asheville City Council members unanimously approved a 349-unit housing development off Smokey Park Highway in Enka-Candler.

The project includes sidewalks and a walking trail that would connect homes to the nearby Buncombe Sports Park. The plan also proposed a grocery store for the mixed-use site, along with two other lots primed for commercial use. The 42.7-acre property sits at 172 Moody Avenue.

Council granted the developer, Thrash Limited Partnership, the conditional zoning it needed to move the project forward.

Council member Maggie Ullman said the development is exactly what the city hopes to see more of moving forward.

“I think this project really nicely balances a lot of the priorities that council articulates for when we're having growth,” she said. “We're having multifamily housing. We're having density on a transportation corridor. We're having a grocery store for all these new neighbors to be able to walk to.”

“I think this project really nicely balances a lot of the priorities that council articulates for when we're having growth,” she said. “We're having multifamily housing. We're having density on a transportation corridor. We're having a grocery store for all these new neighbors to be able to walk to.”

The units will be spread across eight buildings, including a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments along with a few townhomes. Plans also include a clubhouse for residents, which will use some solar power.

Of the 349 units, 5% – or 17 – will be deemed affordable for people who make 80% of the Area Median Income. For a one-person household in Asheville, that’s an annual income of $52,350.

Resident Rob Robinson, who has achieved recent YouTubefame through his videos on urban planning, spoke at public comment in support of the project.

“The mixture of unit types is a huge deal. We have a sort of oversaturation of studio, one and two bedroom-multifamily projects here, so having that extra variety is going to be a huge boon for our housing market, which is incredibly important for affordability,” he said.

“The mixture of unit types is a huge deal. We have a sort of oversaturation of studio, one and two bedroom-multifamily projects here, so having that extra variety is going to be a huge boon for our housing market, which is incredibly important for affordability,” he said.

In a rare moment for council’s public hearings, no one spoke in opposition to the project.

“How nice it was to have all pro-housing comments tonight,” Council member Sage Turner remarked. “I didn’t hear a single anti-housing – I don’t know if that’s happened.”

From public comment

  • Several members of Asheville For All, a local affordable housing advocacy group, spoke in favor of proposed zoning changes recently approved by the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission. Changes included the removal of residential parking mandates and the removal of a conditional zoning requirement for developments larger than 49 units.  “These two proposed changes are important parts of the puzzle and they didn't get any press this month. So I just want to spread the good word,” Andrew Paul, one of the zoning advocates, said. 
  • Several residents spoke again about the Israel-Gaza war, with some advocating for a ceasefire and others warning council about rising antisemitism in Asheville. 
A Google Maps capture of Haywood Road in West Asheville
A Google Maps capture of Haywood Road in West Asheville

Other tidbits

  • As part of a 15-item consent agenda, council authorized $811,808 in opioid settlement funds for the city’s Community Responder program and an agreement with NCDOT to authorize resurfacing and pedestrian improvements on Haywood Road.
  • Council also authorized a campaign for a $80 million general obligation bond to move forward. If approved, the bond would show up on the ballot in November and would increase the tax rate by around three cents. There will be a public hearing at council’s July 23 meeting. 
  • The city’s Boards and Commission meetings are about to become more accessible. A new agreement with Solutionz, Inc. will allow hybrid meeting capability in the city’s first-floor conference room, meaning residents will soon be able to attend and contribute public comment virtually. 
  • Council approved a rezoning request for eight parcels of land in the River Arts District at 28 Roberts Street. The zoning change – from River Arts Form District – Neighborhood Transition to RM-8 Residential Multi-Family Medium Density District will allow the property to be used for single-family residences.
  • Council heard updates on the Asheville Regional Airport and the $1 billion I-26 Connector Project. The latter is going through a six-month “optimization and refinement” process after recently selecting Archer-Wright JV as the project’s lead contractor.
  • Council shifts to a summer schedule, reducing its monthly meetings from two monthly meetings to one meeting in July and one in August. Meetings are slated for July 23 and August 27.

Every second and fourth Tuesday, Asheville City Council meets at the Council Chamber on the 2nd Floor of City Hall, 70 Court Plaza beginning at 5:00 p.m. See the full recording of the June 25 meeting and the agenda.

Laura Hackett joined Blue Ridge Public Radio in June 2023. Originally from Florida, she moved to Asheville more than six years ago and in that time has worked as a writer, journalist, and content creator for organizations like AVLtoday, Mountain Xpress, and the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce. She has a degree in creative writing from Florida Southern College, and in 2023, she completed the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY's Product Immersion for Small Newsrooms program. In her free time, she loves exploring the city by bike, testing out new restaurants, and hanging out with her dog Iroh at French Broad River Park.
Related Content