Asheboro clears way for new affordable housing development

ASHEBORO — The Asheboro City Council met Thursday, March 9, with multiple property and funding matters on the agenda.

The council held legislative hearings for two rezoning applications for property located at 853 East Salisbury Street and 133 Southway Road.

The first application was for a rezoning from OA6 to OA6 (CZ)

“This is an application filed by Community Housing Partners for property identified as 853 East Salisbury Street,” said Community Development Director Trevor Nuttall. “It includes four separate county parcels, approximately five and a half acres. This application is to take the property from an existing high-density office and apartment zoning district to a conditional office and apartment zoning district. Formerly, there had been a single-family dwelling on this property, but the site is now undeveloped.

“The application includes a request for 47 apartment units contained within two separate, three-story buildings. The necessary parking associated with that development is between one of the buildings and East Salisbury Street.”

The apartments are proposed to be affordable housing, with each unit either one or two bedrooms.

“The affordable housing that we’re talking about is really probably better referred to as workforce housing,” said Tom Wright, a representative for the applicant. “You can qualify for this particular type of project, which is funded, and what makes this go is the tax credits, but anybody that is up to 60% of the median income of the area will be eligible to rent in these particular buildings. The target tenants for these kinds of areas are people like beginning teachers, law enforcement, firefighters, anybody who can meet the requirement of income being at or below 60% of the median income for the area.”

Upon the conclusion of the hearing, the council approved the request.

“The latter part of 2022, there was a labor shortage in Wilmington, and they said that was the greatest impediment to economic development,” said Mayor Pro Tem Walker Moffitt. “The number one impediment to their labor shortage was a lack of housing within an hour’s drive to get the necessary labor pool. We’re going to run into the same thing if we don’t plan ahead.”

The second application was for a rezoning from R7,5 (CZ) and R15 to O&I (CZ).

“This is a request by FBP Investments in care of Ronnie Pugh for property located at 133 Southway Road,” Nuttall said. “This is a request to move the property, which is currently in a conditional zoning R-7.5 and R-15 district, exclusively to a conditional zoning office and institutional zoning district that would permit business services from the property as well as related and accessory enclosed storage.”

According to Nuttall, the property is a single parcel, under 0.3 acres in size, and currently has a single-family dwelling on the property. What’s proposed in its place is a 3,400-square-foot building with approximately 1,000 square feet of office space contained within the front portion of the building and 2,400 square feet of garage or storage area to the rear of the structure.

“It’s really going to be a natural transition facility between residential and the ongoing improvements of McCreery Park, and we intend to be there in the next couple of years,” said Ronnie Pugh, an owner of the Asheboro Zookeepers, who bought the property after some issues with the prior resident arose.

Also, according to Pugh, the plan is for the office to match the same materials used in McCreery Ballpark in order to better help the transition between the park and the residential areas on the other side.

Following the hearing, the council approved the request.

The council also approved the designation of the Parks Hosiery Mill/McCrary Hosiery Mill and former Acme-McCrary & Sapona Recreation Center as local historic landmarks in Asheboro.

The council then approved multiple amendments to the general fund, including $300,000 to the McCrary Ballpark Fund for improvements, $431,000 to the Cultural and Recreation Division for added programs at Sunset Theatre as well as for utilities, operating costs, and repairs, $225,000 for repairs to the City Hall parking lot, and $350,000 to Airport Improvement Fund II to cover timing issues.

“It’s basically because of a timing mechanism,” said Finance Director Deborah Reaves on the money to the Airport Improvement fund. “We really don’t plan on spending it; it’s just on paper as a revenue that will show there. Everything we spend on the airport project is reimbursed because it’s grant oriented. It’s just that there is a timing issue of when we get the money because you have to spend the money, recognize the expense in the project, then request the funding from the federal government to be sent back.”

The Asheboro City Council will next meet April 6.

By Ryan Henkel, North State Journal