In one of the shorter meetings Xpress has attended this year, the Buncombe County Board of Adjustment wrapped up its agenda in just under 2 1/2 hours. Approved projects of note include a vacation rental complex in East Asheville and a 17-home subdivision in Swannanoa. A proposed 221-unit apartment complex on Overlook Road was also officially postponed to next month’s meeting.
A proposed vacation complex that failed to get approval last month was back before the board with an amended application. The developers of the nearly 22-acre property at 198 Shope Creek Road were seeking a conditional use permit to build eight cabins, down from 10 in last month’s request. The developers also increased noise buffers to adjacent properties by 200 percent.
Joel Osgood, of Osgood Landscape Architecture, spoke on behalf of the property owners stating the new plan addressed the noise and traffic concerns that ultimately sunk the original proposal. He said about 85 percent of the property would remain undeveloped and that reducing the footprint to eight cabins, each between 400 and 800 square feet, would minimize traffic and noise. “The other thing to state is we very much want this to be considered a retreat that is quiet in nature,” said Osgood.
Developers also stated that the property owners would be on-site as much as possible, acting as de facto managers monitoring noise and other potential issues.
However, not everyone was in favor of the vacation rental, as two neighbors spoke against it.
Angela Stone said the application changes didn’t satisfy her concerns about increased cars and hearing people late at night. “The Shope family has been there 200 years, and all the surrounding properties are still Shopes. We are directly impacted,” she said.
“When kids over there are partying … the lights and noise are substantial. This will completely change that area.”
Board member James Wilson said, “I was not supportive the first time. I think the applicant has made substantial changes that make a lot of sense. Someone could build 15 or so houses pretty easy and not have to come before this board.”
Board member Mychal Bacote echoed the sentiment: “As these parcels fall out of family land, they will be developed, and we can’t be onerous and ignore what ordinances say. If we have a problem, we need commissioners to look at [zoning uses].”
Other board members commented on improvements of the new plans en route to unanimously approving the development.
Developers said they will build three cabins within the next six months and plan to wrap up construction within three years.
Home in the valley
The board also gave the go-ahead to a 17-home subdivision in Swannanoa. New Salem Heights will sit on 3.26 acres at 420 New Salem Road and feature open space.
The developers were seeking a conditional use permit to be considered a planned unit development, meaning it can have smaller lot sizes if it satisfies density requirements.
The applicant stated New Salem Heights aims to build homes in the 1,500-square-foot range with pricing around $250,000.
Nobody spoke against the project, and the board unanimously approved it.
The Board of Adjustment’s next meeting is set for Wednesday, July 12, when it is slated to consider the proposed Overlook Apartments.