ASHEBORO — An affordable apartment complex at 853 E. Salisbury Street has been approved by the Asheboro City Council.
The project was brought before the council members at their March 9 meeting by Community Housing Partners.
The 5.4-acre site on the north side of the intersection with NC 42 received rezoning to allow a development with multiple family dwellings.
The project will have two three-story apartment buildings with a total of 47 units as well as a community room. They will consist of one- and two-bedroom apartments.
Tom Wright, representing Community Housing Partners, said the term affordable housing shouldn’t be confused with subsidized housing. Instead, he preferred to call the apartments “workforce housing,” for people with jobs that pay 60 percent or less of the local median income.
Wright said potential residents could be young people starting out in careers such as teaching or law enforcement. Rents would not be subsidized, he said.
“Community Housing Partners has developed these properties since 1975, with 6,800 units,” Wright said. “There’s a huge need for housing for people with regular jobs.”
He added that the developers will own and operate the project and provide services for tenants such as classes on finance and helping them work toward buying their own homes.
In addition to the community room, the complex is slated to have a playground, a sports court and a picnic area with a grill. There will be 17 extra parking spaces for guests but no recreational vehicles will be allowed.
The site, which drops sharply in elevation from north to south, is currently undeveloped with electric transmission lines on the north side near Spring Street.
The apartment buildings will be located on the south side with vegetative buffering on the sides and shrubs and trees in front. The development will also have a sidewalk along the street as well as curbs and gutters. Vehicle access will be from Salisbury Street.
Wright said that if the council approved the request, Community Housing Partners could seek tax credits from the state to build the affordable housing units. He said the process could take a year or two before construction could begin. That would dovetail with plans to upgrade NC 42 where it intersects with Salisbury Street.
Trevor Nuttall, community development director for the city, said the street is now over capacity with some 14,500 vehicles daily. However, the NC Department of Transportation has plans to widen NC 42 and redo the intersection with Salisbury Street, which should increase vehicle capacity.
Nuttall said city staff believes the request is consistent with the Land Development Plan and recommended approval.
Walker Moffitt, mayor pro tem, said that he had heard that Wilmington has a problem finding enough workers because of a shortage of housing within an hour of the city. He said Asheboro could find itself in the same situation unless there is more housing available.
Mayor David Smith added, “This is one piece of the housing puzzle.”
Council member Bill McCaskill said, “This reminds me of the apartments on Sunset Avenue (Sunset Apartments)” which were built several years ago as affordable units. “That really improved the area. I think this will improve this area.”
The council then voted unanimously to approve the request.