Asheville launches survey for comments on affordable housing plan

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North Carolina Construction News staff writer

The City of Asheville has launched a public survey to collect input on priorities, policy goals, and strategies expected to create an “affordable, equitable, and inclusive housing future”.

The survey is open through April 14 at www.ashevillenc.gov/ahplan.

One of the goals is to increase the supply of housing that meets the needs of current and future residents with strategies including the following strategies:

Increase regulatory incentives citywide

  • While the City has adopted place-based incentives to increase supply, including density bonuses, it can identify citywide strategies for increasing supply.

Reduce regulatory barriers citywide

  • Cities across the country are working to identify and address regulatory barriers, including development costs and process requirements, that make it more challenging to build quality housing. For example, some city governments reduce/waive certain fees and/or provide dedicated zoning/permitting navigators for affordable/mixed-use housing.

Continue to develop city-owned land for affordable housing

  • The City and other local agencies own developable land and current/past efforts have been undertaken to use this land to build affordable housing. The city can work to understand how it may further position City land to produce outcomes in alignment with this plan, which could include constructing needed infrastructure on available sites, utilizing parcels as a form of down-payment assistance, etc.

Create an acquisition fund for permanently affordable housing

  • As larger investors have access to fast capital that allows them to acquire property, community land trusts and public entities are often unable to compete to acquire properties they are interested in. Cities can provide organizations, including community land trusts, with acquisition funding to help them acquire property to build/preserve safe, quality affordable housing.
  • Support other plans and policy initiatives that diversify housing choices (e.g., Missing Middle study).
  • The city can work to implement the findings/recommendations of related plans/studies in alignment with the priorities of this plan.

Require all developments that receive city funding to accept rental assistance

  • A public subsidy policy mandates that developers who receive locally-controlled public resources (i.e., subsidy, tax abatements, land, etc.) set aside a certain portion of units for vouchers / rental assistance.

Support construction of affordable housing

  • There is currently a shortage of affordable homes that are affordable for low- and middle-income homebuyers. There are a range of actions that the City can lead/support to increase affordable for-sale housing, including providing development subsidies to developers committed to selling homes at affordable price points.

View draft recommendations and give us your thoughts on prioritizing strategies the City should pursue in the first three years of implementation.

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