March 14, 2016

Proposed Project Update – March 14, 2016

On February 29th and March 1st, the Developer held town hall meetings to discuss his proposed project. These meetings were very well attended with about 60 people attending on the 29th and 30 attending on the 1st. The meetings also drew elected officials and those seeking office including Asheville Council Members Gordon Smith (also running for Buncombe County Commissioner in District 1) and Julie Mayfield, State Representative Brian Turner and Edward Hay who is running for Buncombe County Commissioner in District 3. Asheville Council Member Bryan Haynes planned to attend but had a family emergency.

The developer’s current proposal for the property is the following:
1. 272 apartment units without any commercial outparcels
2. The attached conditions agreed to at the Planning & Zoning Committee meeting (found here: B1 Conditions 20160107) with the following modifications: a) Construction on the property would not begin until January 2018 with expected completion in mid-2020 and b) Rather than 20% affordable units for 10 years, 15% affordable units for 15 years
3. The developer would not begin making the improvements until January 2018 when construction would start on the apartment complex

The developer noted that he did not own the property, but instead had an option to develop it subject to City Council approving the plan. A Charlotte businessman owns the property (he also owns the strip of land for sale on Gerber Road between Hendersonville and Sweeten Creek Roads). The developer said that the likely use for this parcel, if the apartment project was not approved, would be to develop a shopping center complex at that site once Sweeten Creek and Mills Gap Roads were widened. He argued that using this property for apartments would have a much lower traffic impact than a shopping center.

Many of the questions from residents concerned traffic along Sweeten Creek Road. The developer stated that the road improvements that he proposed doing would mitigate the increased traffic coming from the apartment complex. [Note: We received word from the City that the State DOT has engaged a consultant to begin looking at the road widening. We are trying to get additional information from the State DOT.]

One resident also raised environmental concerns about the property. We have requested the environmental studies completed by the developer. In response, the developer stated “we are conducting some additional environmental investigations at the property and once those results of the additional investigations are complete, and consistent with our obligations to the current seller, we will disclose information about environmental conditions at the site.”

Due to schedule conflicts, Asheville City Council will NOT be considering this matter on April 26th as originally planned. We are working to try to find a date that works for the parties.

In the meantime, we are planning to have a meeting among residents to discuss their thoughts on the current proposal. We will be in touch with details soon. Thanks again for all of your help.