Last year, Dr. Michael Sanera and Joanna Grey published a report entitled, “Planning Penalties in North Carolina: Why Other NC Cities Shouldn’t Follow Asheville and Wilmington.” It applied a landmark study by Randal O’Toole to North Carolina cities.

Sanera and Grey concluded, “Cities that have established aggressive growth management plans or so-called smart growth plans, not just in North Carolina but around the country, have artificially created housing shortages which in turn drive up prices.” The study attributed 25% of housing prices in Asheville to costs of compliance with planning policies.

But not to worry. Government, by definition, must enact plans to address without solving government-created problems with more government.

Developers of the Ellington, a skyscraper proposed for downtown Asheville, included with the plans an artists space and a superficial greenwash to get past the creative-class aura of the boards that oversee the city’s planning. Further, since the building had to be upscale to meet its pricepoint, contrary to the city’s vision and strategic goals for workforce housing, the developers suggested setting up a foundation to accept 1.25% of sales and 0.5% of resales until 2080. Proceeds would be donated toward local affordable housing initiatives, in the form of perhaps economic incentives to developers of low-income housing or downpayment assistance for families.

To take it a step further, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners has announced its intention to donate all property tax revenues from the building to affordable housing initiatives. According to the Citizen-Times, that would be about $455,000, until revals. Property values only increased 10.9% in Asheville this year, and more regulation is on its way.