An Ohio-based nonprofit is looking to build 70 affordable seniors’ apartments near Swannanoa River Road, all for renters earning 60% or less of the area’s median income.
The project would serve people 55 and older, or 62 and older, and would not be an assisted living facility with on-site support services, according to a report from a neighborhood meeting.
Plans submitted to the city for necessary conditional zoning, show a single four-story building on 2.73 acres between Governors View Road and Swannanoa River Road, between Aldi and Four Star Car Wash.
Steve Sceranka, property development manager for the Buckeye Community Hope Foundation’s southeast housing division, said the group does not offer market-priced housing.
It owns or manages more than 4,000 units in 11 states, he said.
According to United States Census Bureau18.1% of Asheville’s estimated 2020 population of 94,589, or approximately 17,120 people, are 65 and older.
No one earning more than 60% of the AMI could rent an apartment in Redwood Commons, he said. The exact combination of rates and rents will be accompanied by a market study which should be completed in March.
“It’s not the market price where we put in a high level of amenities and charge $1,200 for a bedroom,” Sceranka said. “Rent levels (will) be set to a maximum based on area median income, then you have to have that many units targeted for 60%.”
According to Asheville Matrix for Affordable Housing Rates based on data from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, the 60% AMI for a one-person household is $31,575 and $36,075 for a two-person household.
Rents tied to this rate, with utilities included, are $846 for one bedroom and $1,014 for a two bedroom.
For this project, developers are seeking federal low-income housing tax credits to help fund the project, Sceranka said, as well as a community development block grant to help offset the cost of purchasing the property.
Sceranka said Buckeye Hope planned to submit the project last year but ran out of time. The city, he said, has asked developers to push past the 49-unit mark that triggers the necessary conditional zoning.
The current River zoning district allows up to 49 units in residential developments, leading developers to seek conditional zoning in the Residential Expansion District.
Next up for Redwood Commons is an Asheville Technical Review Committee meeting on March 7. The project will also go through the city’s planning and zoning commission and will ultimately be approved or denied by the city council.
Neighbours’ concerns to be addressed
A project story included with the request says the site had once been used for several light industrial purposes, but was once vacant, bordering single-family homes to the north, an Aldi grocery store to the east and a car wash to the west.
“The site is proposed to be rezoned for multi-family affordable housing due to its proximity to several services, including a grocery store and public transportation,” it says.
The site is approximately half a mile from the intersection of Swannanoa River Road and South Tunnel Road, near the Asheville Mall.
Plans on file for the first floor layout show a mix of two and one bedroom apartments with a multipurpose room, tenant storage and utility rooms.
The L-shaped building and associated parking lot will be located on the north side of the property to avoid a diversion channel, according to the story, along Governors View Road, providing room for a buffer zone of green space along from Swannanoa River Road.
Sidewalks are provided throughout the site to allow residents access to Governors View Road and a bus stop on Swannanoa River Road.
At a January 27 neighborhood meeting at Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen on Bleachery Boulevard, neighbors expressed disappointment with the height of the building and shared concerns about the lighting and size of the building.
According to this report, the existing landowner shared a prior engagement with a commercial developer hoping to build a strip mall with a Dollar Tree as its anchor, and prior requests for the property to be subdivided into land parcels. an acre for individual development.
The owner has expressed a desire to select BCHF, since the group wishes to purchase the entire property, according to the neighborhood meeting report.
Neighbors shared other concerns about car wash operations, relocation of an existing creek, parking lot lighting and disappointment at not being able to provide design information, believing it was a deal done, though the developers said they would incorporate those concerns. in development and noted future opportunities for public participation.
They are also awaiting market research to determine how many units can be approved based on a request for funding from state and federal governments, he said, adding that if market research does not not support the full 70 units, the plan will be revised based on market research, which is expected to be released in March.
Due to extensive leveling, plans indicate that no trees can be preserved, with plans to meet the city’s needs Forest Cover Preservation Ordinance by planting 63 new trees for a total new canopy of 32,585 square feet.
Considered a Class B or urban site under the ordinance, plans say 17,838 square feet, or 15% of the site, must be covered in trees as no existing trees can be preserved.
For lighting concerns, Sceranka said lights will be designed to shine down so neighbors looking out of their windows don’t stare at bright lights like streetlights that are designed to shine out.
He said the height of the building, at 60 feet according to the plans, is within what is permitted by law in the zoning district, and while neighbors will be looking at the building, their current view is of the Aldi parking lot and the Walmart across the river.
Buckeye Hope will be a partner in the project and will likely manage Redwood Commons as well, Sceranka said, while it remains to be seen whether or not the group will wait to have a few more projects built before it makes sense.
Once the complex is leased, he said the foundation will begin working with its social services staff to plan programs at the site, a team of about 40 employees who rotate between company buildings to teach educational programs. on everything from checkbook reconciliation to health and wellness. seminars.
The first-floor community hall will house social services that could potentially be open to the public and a small library with computers for residents.
Last year, the organization won a very similar project in Kernersville, he said, and according to its website operates in Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina, Virginia, Illinois and Pennsylvania.
Derek Lacey covers environment, growth and development for the Asheville Citizen Times. Join it at [email protected] or 828-417-4842 and find him on Twitter @DerekAVL.