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Buncombe County Board of Commissioners Hears Bond Feasibility Survey Results

a wooden house is on a green background

At its April 19 briefing, the Board of Commissioners heard a bond referendum feasibility study from the Trust for Public Land on a possible referendum to generate funding for affordable housing and for conservation and protection of natural resources and preservation of farmland. Funded by the Merck Family Fund and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the study shows support for $30 million of bond funds for land conservation and greenways, and $40 million of bond funds for affordable housing. If approved by voters this November, a $30 million bond would cost typical households a maximum of $14 a year for 20 years, and a $40 million bond would cost typical households a maximum of $18 a year for 20 years.

With Impact Research, the Trust for Public Land conducted a public opinion poll of more than 400 Buncombe County respondents between April 7 and 12, 2022. In that poll, 71% of respondents were in favor of authorizing $30 million to pay the capital costs of acquisition and improvement of land for conservation and protection of natural resources, preservation of farmland, and the development of greenways and trails for recreation purposes.

The poll also found 63% of respondents supported authorizing $40 million to pay the capital of housing for the benefit of housing for persons of low or moderate income, including construction of related infrastructure improvements and the acquisition of related land and rights-of-way.

“It’s something that I’ve heard people speak to over the past three years – both of these issues – and how important it is to them,” said Commissioner Terri Wells. “If we want Buncombe County to thrive for future generations, we need to look at doing both of these things not just for us, but for our children and grandchildren.”

If the Board decides to move forward and the referendum is approved, community oversight and independent annual audits would be used to provide accountability. 

The study comes after the Commissioners approved affordable housing goals on March 15. Those goals include impacting 2,800-3,150 affordable housing units by 2030:

  • 1,500-1,850 rental units for households at or below 80% area median income (AMI)
  • Average at or below 60% AMI across all households
  • 1200-1480 units should leverage the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program (will leverage an estimated $100-$120 million in tax credit equity to Buncombe County)
  • 200 units for at or below 80% AMI
  • 500 repair units for households at or below 80% AMI
  • 400 ownership or rental units for households between 80% to 120% AMI, or the moderate income/workforce

A presentation and Board vote are set for May 3 that will outline the steps required to add bond language to the November 8, 2022 ballot. To view the presentation, click here.

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Updated Apr 19, 2022 05:24 PM
Published Apr 19, 2022 05:19 PM


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