Six apartment buildings spanning over 21 acres arrive at Sardis Rd


Nearly 300 apartments are heading to Sardis Road near Enka, where developers plan to rehabilitate a suffering creek, build walking trails and accommodate the growing share of homework professionals.

In six apartment buildings on more than 21 acres at 235 Sardis Road, developer VVS Investments of Mills River hopes to build 297 residential units in two phases, including a clubhouse and walking trails along Hominy Creek, which borders the site to the north.

The Asheville Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved a conditional rezoning of the site, necessary due to the size of the project, praising the developers for the included affordable housing and commitments to preserve the canopy, spaces open and streams nearby.

In July, during his first submission, Art Bayluk, representing the developers, said the COVID-19 pandemic has led many people to work from home, so the designers built additional square meters to give future residents a workspace.

The plans were still being finalized, but Bayluk said apartments would be 150-200 square feet larger than the original plans, as pandemic medicine and working from home became the norm for many.

At the time, the one-bedroom apartments were to be around 900 square feet, the two bedrooms 1,250 to 1,300 feet and the three bedrooms 1,450 to 1,500 square feet with a larger living room to accommodate a office, he said, in order for these to work – home offices did not eat in the normal living room space.

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Of the nearly 300 units, 30 of them will be sold at an affordable price, according to information presented to the Commission on December 1, at a rent tied to 80% or less than the median income of the area for 20 years, although that the project has not yet applied for a land use incentive grant.

According to the city matrix, the 80% MAI is $ 48,100 for a two-person household and $ 60,100 for a four-person household. Rents at this level with utilities included are $ 1,128 for a one-bedroom apartment, $ 1,353 for a two-bedroom apartment and $ 1,563 for a four-bedroom apartment.

Commissioners, including Kelsey Simmons and Robert Hoke, asked about the possibilities of increasing the share of affordable units in the project.

Urban planner Shannon Tuch noted that affordable housing is not required for rezoning, but is “at the forefront” of the overall city plan, and that support and compliance with this. plan are required.

The elevations included with the preliminary site plans for a proposed apartment complex on Sardis Road show a typical view of the planned buildings on the 22-acre site.

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Therefore, the inclusion of affordable housing “is a very effective way of showing support and adherence to the plan,” Tuch said.

Attorney Derek Allen, of the firm of Asheville Allen, Stahl and Kilbourne, noted that the city’s land use incentive grant program, which provides tax breaks to developers on the basis of a minimum of 20% affordable housing included in new projects, grants an average of $ 80,000 per grant.

Commission Chairman Joe Archibald later pointed out in the meeting that this average is $ 80,000 per unit.

“Developing those and putting them into affordable housing is a big deal,” Allen said. “So just saying, ‘Can you do more here just because we need them in the community isn’t very fair to individual developers. “

The 10% included in this project is without help from the city, he said, also speaking about the need for more housing in general and the 12 to 13 month delay between the first submission of a project and the first. pickaxe.

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“These people who put this development in place are getting it,” Allen said. “That’s why they’re trying to put a project in the right area that’s close to jobs, close to schools, matches the city’s master plan, and provides that housing stock.”

Developers will also accept housing choice vouchers for units deemed affordable, he said, a point that was added as a condition of rezoning.

The first phase consists of the first four buildings and the first 192 units, with the last two buildings totaling 105 units in the second phase.

The plans showed two different styles of four-story buildings, with a total height of 53 feet, while one of the six buildings is expected to be three stories and 40 feet, according to the staff report.

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Hominy Creek “a amenity”, 15.2% of the tree canopy will remain

The plans show a looping walking trail along the entire Hominy Creek frontage on the property through a wooded area, which will be used for tree canopy preservation, as required for the site through the Ordinance on protecting the city’s tree canopy.

The ordinance requires the preservation of the tree canopy or the planting of new private developments depending on the size and location of the lot, or charges instead of such preservation.

An included tree canopy protection plan says that due to the size of the property, 15% of the area, or about 4 acres, should be preserved from the tree canopy, with plans calling for a total of 15.2% of the site, 4.2 acres to stay with trees. covered.

Allen said developers will commit to either 15% open space or 500 square feet per unit of open space, whichever is greater, and that works out to 140,000 to 150,000 square feet.

Plans filed with the city show six apartment buildings and a clubhouse planned for just over 22 acres at 235 Sardis Road.

Commissioner Brandon Faircloth asked about stormwater management plans given the amount of impervious surfaces, and Commissioner Geoffrey Barton asked what precautions would be taken during construction to protect waterways.

Hominy Creek, a popular recreation area and major waterway, has faced challenges including erosion and bacteria.

Engineer Mike Anderson said Hominy Creek suffers from significant erosion problems in the area, including some with 20-foot vertical banks.

Part of the project includes the rehabilitation of these banks not only for the benefit of water quality, he said, but also to provide amenity to future residents.

During construction, Anderson said the site will be inspected and inspected every two weeks after an inch or more of rain, where inspectors will check every erosion control measure and require repairs if necessary.

“One thing I appreciate about this project is that it has a relatively minimal impact on these jurisdictional waters and preserves them as a kind of amenity,” Tuch said. “Hominy Creek is highlighted as a convenience.”

The walking trail along the creek will be 8 feet wide and will be ADA accessible, Anderson said, ready to be connected to any future greenways that may come to the area.

He added that Hominy Creek is mentioned in the city’s greenway master plan, although Tuch noted that it shows a greenway across the creek.

Smaller tributaries to Hominy Creek on the property will only be channeled where crossings are planned, she said, the majority of tributaries, which cut the property from south to north, will remain “in the light of day” or open.

Many developers will route these types of tributaries and build a parking lot at the top, Tuch said.

Anderson said the current zoning would have allowed 80% impermeable surfaces on the site, and the proposed plan would make the site now vacant 40% impervious.

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Erosion on Hominy Creek at the Spiritual Life Center

From industrial to residential

The staff report states that a traffic impact study recommends the addition of a left turn lane on Sardis Road at its intersection with Innovation Drive, and some changes to the timing of signals at the intersection of Brevard Road and Sardis Road.

This traffic impact study is still being analyzed by the state Department of Transportation, Tuch said, but the developers have agreed to implement these improvements, pending final approval from NCDOT.

The decision changes the site’s zoning from commercial industrial to the city’s residential expansion area, a move that staff recommended that council approve. The residential expansion area allows for up to 20 units per acre, while the project reaches 13.4 units per acre.

The staff report states that “parts of Sardis Rd. Continue to be dominated by industrial, light industrial / commercial uses; However, the character of the area is changing to include more service businesses, community facilities and residential neighborhoods.

The area, which is linked to the Sand Hill region, Tuch said, has grown from a historically heavy industrial part of the city to lighter industry and commercial uses, and the properties have been converted for residential purposes. .

Most of the project site is between the 12.7-acre Franklin School of Innovation and a large single-family residential neighborhood, the report says, and some is proposed to be subdivided and remain commercial industrial for future commercial use.

The city’s future land use map listed the area designated for industry / manufacturing, and the December 1 Commission decision changed that designation to a residential area.

“We are starting to see more and more residential uses, more and more uses to support residences such as the school,” Tuch said of the area. “So a modification of the future land use map is appropriate. “

Derek Lacey covers healthcare, growth and development for the Asheville Citizen Times. Contact him at [email protected] or 828-417-4842 and find him on Twitter @DerekAVL.

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