Press release from Friends of Hominy Creek Greenway:
The Board of Trustees of the Friends of Hominy Creek Greenway, Inc. has changed its position regarding the Crossroads at West Asheville development. The board’s new position opposes the Crossroads at West Asheville development in its current form due to its negative impact on Hominy Creek and the Hominy Creek Greenway.
The original position of the board of trustees did not oppose the project, but expressed concerns regarding various elements of the design and its impact.
The proposal seeks to establish a planned unit development consisting of 802 residential units, and approximately 120,000 square feet of retail, office, and self-storage space. The developer of the property is Catalyst Capital Partners of Charlotte, North Carolina.
Following meetings and correspondence with the developer, FOHCG Inc. president Bryan Tomes said the board of trustees has altered its stance from concern about the project to opposing the current design.
“There has been no movement by the developers to consider a larger assessment of what a sustainable and progressive residential development might look like on the banks of Hominy Creek. It’s become increasingly clear that the developers perceive the limits of their development is appropriately defined by Buncombe County regulations,” said Tomes. “From a beauty, traffic, and environmental stewardship perspective the regional regulations do not meet a standard to be considered an appropriate baseline for a development with the scope and impact on the surrounding community.”
The Buncombe County Board of Adjustments will hold a public hearing regarding the development at noon on Wednesday, November 13 at 12:00 PM at 30 Valley Street in Asheville.
The Friends of Hominy Creek Greenway has multiple concerns with the size and scope of the project:
• The overall size and scope of the development will have an impact on the viewshed due to the placement and height of the structures.
• The development is on a unique parcel of land within the Hominy Creek watershed and will impact the water quality due to run off from parking lots and construction.
• An increase in traffic flow in the surrounding neighborhood will impact public safety among pedestrians who use the Hominy Creek Greenway.
The Friends of Hominy Creek Greenway will continue to seek the opportunity to work with the developer, the State of North Carolina, Buncombe County, and the City of Asheville to implement the following recommendations:
• That the developer repair the eroding stream bank on their property and create a substantial buffer of 50 feet or more consisting of deep-rooted woody plants along Hominy Creek to protect it from runoff and bank erosion; and to mitigate thermal and other water quality impacts from the 40 acres of new impervious surface proposed.
• That the developer examine how the size and placement of structures and parking lots will impact the viewshed of users of the Hominy Creek Greenway and adapt their plans to minimize and mitigate the impact on the viewshed.
• That the developer use low-impact construction practices and building techniques to capture and filter stormwater runoff to minimize the impact on Hominy Creek, and to compliment the proposed ponds with additional and more effective water quality treatment.
• That Buncombe County require the developer build a section of greenway with adequate bicycle and pedestrian facilities to connect with existing greenways and pedestrian infrastructure.
• That the developer, Buncombe County and the City of Asheville add and improve pedestrian infrastructure associated with the existing greenway and establish safe bicycle and pedestrian connectivity between the existing and proposed trails.
• That the State of North Carolina consider improvements to I-240/I-26 access ramps and an additional access ramp at Bear Creek Road and I-240/I-26 to minimize traffic flow onto side streets in the surrounding community.
The following documents about the development are included below:
ABOUT THE HOMINY CREEK GREENWAY
After moving to Asheville from Atlanta in 2006 Doug “Brotherhug” Barlow led the effort to convince public officials to protect a secluded fourteen acres along Hominy Creek known as the “Waller Tract”.
The price tag of the Waller Tract, however, was far too high for him to handle alone. So Barlow set out to convince public officials of the value of the narrow wedge of land along Hominy Creek. His case for more green space is a familiar one: Urban parkland can improve ecological health, provide a place to play and gather, and help residents connect with nature, making the city more livable.
“It’s a magical place,”said Barlow. “The first time I saw the land I immediately felt that it needed to be public space.”
Thanks to his efforts, in 2011 a coalition of public and private interests purchased the Waller Tract on behalf of the City of Asheville for $139,000 in order to establish the Hominy Creek Greenway. The tract includes a portion of the world’s first hydroelectric powered trolley developed by lumber baron Edwin Carrier in 1892.
From the get-go, Barlow envisioned a community park planned by the community. For him, spearheading neighborhood movements is nothing new: In the 1980s, Barlow helped transform two acres of derelict urban Atlanta into a beloved community park.
The Friends of Hominy Creek Greenway Inc. (FOHCG) is a group of volunteers dedicated to creating and managing the parkland that borders a mile-long section of Hominy Creek in West Asheville. Jack Igelman (828-216-0888) served as the founding President from 2011 to 2017. Bryan Tomes (828-772-5542) is the current president. The FOHCG is partnering with the community and local government to improve and manage the property.
For more information about the position of the FOHCG, Inc., contact Bryan Tomes.
The FOHCG is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the Hominy Creek Greenway’s wild nature and history, and connecting West Asheville to the French Broad River and downtown Asheville.