Stop Cornerstone Condominium Development on Elk Mountain, Asheville North Carolina

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Asheville Builders, LLC, is planning a 196-unit condominium development atop the Elk Mountain Ridgeline, facing Asheville.  The 113.99 acre lot is above 2600' with an average grade of 48.81, and would be protected by Steep Slope and Ridgeline protection ordinances, except that it has been annexed into Woodfin, who provides no such protection.   Sherwood Heights, Inc. is the registered owner of the plat, identified by PIN 9741-41-0532-00000.  Access to the development, identified as “Cornerstone,” will be made through the Country Club community of Lakeview Park, whose roads are maintained by the city of Asheville.  The impending development has citizens concerned about traffic, population density, and the impact on the environment.

On Monday, March 28, 2016, a handful of North Asheville residents received a letter from Jason Young, the Town Administrator of Woodfin.  The letter, addressed to “property owners lying within 150 feet of subject property,” informs recipients of a hearing by the Planning and Zoning Board of Adjustment on a major subdivision located at 99999 Robinhood Road on April 4, 2016 at 6:30pm, and invites citizens to attend to make their thoughts and concerns known.  The letter concludes that additional information about the proposal can be obtained from the Town Administrator during normal business hours.

The plan outlines a proposal for 184 multi-family units (35 feet in height), and 12 single-family residences.   Each multi-family unit will consist of four stories; one story below grade and three above. The setback shown on the plans is 10 feet from existing owners’ property lines.

The builder has proposed access routes to the new development through the Country Club community of Lakeview Park, increasing traffic through the neighborhood at the expense of Asheville City roads.  Beaverbrook Road, which is privately owned by the four homeowners of Sherwood Heights East, will be extended to provide access to 40 units.  Access to an additional 32 units will be made by extending Beaverbrook Court, which is maintained by the City of Woodfin.  The remaining 124 units will be accessed from a single point off Robinhood Road, which is owned by the City of Asheville.

Buncombe County has enacted a “Steep Slope / High Elevation” ordinance that limits the maximum density for hillside developments to .115 units per acre for single family, and .75 units per acre for multi-family residential.  In order to be considered “Steep Slope / High Elevation,” land must be above 2500 feet with a natural slope of 35% or greater.   The Cornerstone proposal shows an elevation between 2600 and 3000 feet and identifies the average slope to be 48.81%, classifying it as “Steep Slope / High Elevation” according to Buncombe County.  The proposed population density for the development is 1.7 units per acre.  Although the City of Woodfin has no Steep Slope ordinance, according to the Buncombe County On Line Slope Calculation Tool located at this land is subject to “Steep Slope / High Elevation” classification.

The environmental impact of the project is unclear since no such studies have been provided to the public.  In addition to the obvious potential issues with run-off and soil erosion, the impact on wildlife is a major concern of the neighborhood.  In particular, citizens are worried about the fate of the family of five beloved black bears and flock of thirteen turkeys that live on Elk Mountain and regularly patrol the neighborhood.

The builder has listed the zoning district of the parcel as “Mountain Village,” which, according to the Woodfin Code of Ordinances is intended for the following purpose; “The Mountain Village (MV) Residential District is established as a district to permit a range of mixed high density single family and multi-family housing types along with limited office, public, civic, and retail uses appropriate within higher density residential areas. It is intended that this district be located near employment centers, shopping facilities, roads and other urban infrastructure capable of handling the demand generated by higher density residential development and/or capable of being upgraded to handle the demands.”  The Cornerstone proposal shows no plans for retail or office space, and no future development of such amenities, factors which seem to disqualify the parcel from the “Mountain Village” zoning district.  Furthermore, the development is proposed as a gated community, which would preclude it from offering public and civic amenities.

The P&Z Board voted on April 4th to table the discussion pending additional information from the developer.  The next possible date that this project could be up for vote is Monday, June 6th, 2016.  All concerned individuals are encouraged to attend the public meeting Monday, June 6 at 6:30pm at the Woodfin Town Hall, 90 Elk Mountain Road.

Please sign this petition to help stop this development, and please attend the Town Hall meeting on Monday.

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