Community unrest continues over the Coggins Farm property, site of a highly disputed planned development in Riceville.
Riceville residents and other conservation proponents — including Ron Ainspan, partner of current Coggins Farm owner, Copper Coggins — have formed the Coggins Conversation Project, calling for 75 acres of the 169-acre site to be placed in a conservation easement.
Here is the release from Coggins Conversation Project:
The 169 acre Coggins Farm is located near Warren Wilson College, about seven miles from downtown Asheville. It has been in the same family since the founding of Buncombe County. Kept largely undeveloped and bordering the forests of WWC, it features a mix of pastures, long stretches of Bull Creek, fertile bottom lands and mature woods that provide home to a plethora of native medicinal plants and wildlife.
In mid-April, the Buncombe County Board of Adjustments approved Case Enterprises’ plans to develop 281 housing units, four campus office buildings, a school and a bed and breakfast on the property. The vote followed a lengthy meeting during which Riceville Valley community residents voiced concerns over the proposed development.
In the past few days, the Coggins Conservation Project (CCP) has stepped forward to propose a conservation plan that would limit the overall impact of the development by placing up to 75 acres of the land in a conservation easement. The CCP is comprised of original family members, neighbors, conservation enthusiasts and agricultural supporters. The Project has introduced a plan that could co-exist with the proposed development while retaining and protecting a generous share of this land in its pristine condition.
The conservation easement represents an effort to maintain a scenic natural view shed, keep intact a valuable ecosystem and address development concerns in the greater Asheville area. The conservation campaign now underway will raise awareness about the natural, economic and social benefits the public receives from land preservation.
The CCP has launched a preliminary fundraising appeal within the past week. The opening round goal is to raise $12,000 to support the initiative, fund its outreach efforts, cover administrative and legal costs and pay the consulting fees for the formation of a solid land conservation proposal.
The Coggins Conservation Project has developed a platform for community participation and current information at www.cogginsconservation.org.
In a phone interview with the Xpress last month, lead developer David Case confirmed he had met with and discussed the conversation effort and other ways of reducing density with Ainspan, adding that the situation “is complicated.”
“We know that in any way we can be smaller and have less of a foot print would receive a positive response from the neighbors,” Case said.
For more on the Coggins Farm property, see:
•Board of Adjustments approves revised Coggins Farm plan, Xpress Staff
•Developer withdraws Coggins Farm proposal for revision, Carrie Eidson
•Colliding visions: Coggins Farm proposal could bring major change to Riceville, Carrie Eidson
•Coggins development not transparent, Letter to the Editor
•There is no light development, Letter to the Editor