Asheville approves 100% affordable senior living complex in Shiloh

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ASHEVILLE — A 100% affordable seniors’ residence in Shiloh will more than double in size after two City Council approvals on Sept. 27 that authorized both a 54-unit addition and a $1.5 million loan from the Fund housing trust.

Conditional zoning and applying for funding were on the agenda, and the candidate Volunteers of America, which will develop, own and manage the project, won unanimous city council approval for both.

Currently, a 51-unit, two-story, multi-family senior development, Laurel Wood, is located on the 14.73-acre site near Hendersonville Road at 650 Caribou Road.

The proposed expansion would bring a new three-story building with 54 seniors’ housing units, all deemed affordable for at least 30 years at a mix of 80%, 60% and 40% area median income.

Asheville lists 80% AMI as $42,100 for a one-person household, up to $48,100 for a two-person household. At 30% AMI, a one-person household is listed as $15,800 and two-person $18,050.

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Twelve of the units will accept housing choice vouchers.

The project was heard by the Planning and Zoning Commission on August 3, September 7 and September 21. On his third visit – the second vote was delayed because the committee did not reach a quorum – the project was approved unanimously.

The new building was originally proposed along Caribou Road, near the single-family homes that line the Imperial Court, but the height of the building gave some commissioners and residents pause.

A new site plan has been proposed, moving the building deeper into the center of the property, swapping places with the parking lot, and allaying many community concerns — while raising project costs by about $700,000, according to Noemi Riveira, representative of Volunteers of America in September.

The updated proposal for the addition of 54 units which would more than double the size of the Laurel Wood apartments at 650 Caribou Road.

During public comment on September 27, two members of the Shiloh community expressed lingering concerns.

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Norma Baynes, liaison for the Shiloh Community Association, wanted to ensure the development remained solely affordable housing for seniors.

She was also concerned about the strain that more development would put on the neighborhood’s infrastructure, and said the narrow streets already presented some difficulty in navigating.

“Is the infrastructure really going to take all these apartments?” Baynes asked.

Riveira answered several of the questions and clarified that the development is limited to senior housing and affordable in perpetuity, with the new units only available to people 55 and older.

Baynes also thanked the developer for moving the building farther on the site so it was not directly on Caribou Road.

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On September 27, a $1.5 million loan from the Housing Trust Fund was also approved for the expansion of Laurel Wood Apartments and the rehabilitation of the existing 51 units.

Renderings of the proposed expansion of the Laurel Wood Apartments at 650 Caribou Road.

The association requests a loan at 2% interest and deferred over a period of 30 years, secured by a deed of trust, and

Under the current proposal of $1.5 million, the subsidy is $27,777 per unit if only the new construction units are counted and $14,400 if the 104 units are counted. Units range from one to two bedrooms, ranging in size from 560 to 900 square feet.

According to the staff report, construction of the project is expected to begin in late fall 2022 and complete in spring 2024.

Sarah Honosky is the city government reporter for the Asheville Citizen Times, part of the USA TODAY Network. Current advice? Email [email protected] or message on Twitter @slhonosky.

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