Speak your mind about water quality and The Cliffs

The North Carolina Division of Water Quality wants your input on the Water Quality Certification requested by Don Nickell for The Cliffs at High Carolina project in southern Buncombe County. On Tuesday, Nov. 18, starting at 6:30 p.m. at A.C. Reynolds High School in Fairview, the division is holding a public hearing on Nickell’s request.

According to DWQ reports, “The activity for this Certification is sought to impact 6,149 linear feet of stream channel, 0.219 acre of wetlands, and 0.03 acre of open water in order to construct a golf course and residential development on a 2,780 acre tract of land known as The Cliffs at High Carolina.”

In the proposal, The Cliffs developers offer various plans for addressing water-quality issues, but some local residents and environmental watchdogs have voiced concern that the proposals are insufficient. In addition to the Tiger Woods-designed golf course, the project includes plans for about 1,000 homes. The development has already received county-level approval for erosion control, land disturbance and storm water, and a U.S. Army Corp of Engineers permit is pending, according to a summary posted by the nonprofit Clean Water for N.C.

At the hearing, doors will open at 6 p.m. for seating and speaker registration. Depending on the number of people who register to comment, speaking times will be determined on the day of the hearing. Those wanting to speak need to register at the hearing; the sequence of speakers will follow the order of registration. Also, written comments may be forwarded at any time before or after the hearing, but must be received by the Division — by regular mail, fax or e-mail — no later than 5 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 18, 2008.

Comments should be sent to the N.C. Division of Water Quality, 401 Oversight Unit, 1650 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC, 27699-1650, Attn: Cyndi Karoly (919-733-1721, FAX: 919-733-6893, Cyndi.Karoly@ncmail.net ). Comments may also be mailed to 2321 Crabtree Blvd. Suite 250, Raleigh, NC, 27604-2260. 

Copies of the 401 application materials are on file and can be viewed at the DWQ Asheville Regional Office at 2090 U.S. Highway 70, Swannanoa, NC, 28778. For more information, call 296-4500 or the Raleigh office (listed above).

— Margaret Williams, contributing editor


About Margaret Williams
Editor Margaret Williams first wrote for Xpress in 1994. An Alabama native, she has lived in Western North Carolina since 1987 and completed her Masters of Liberal Arts & Sciences from UNC-Asheville in 2016. Follow me @mvwilliams

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16 thoughts on “Speak your mind about water quality and The Cliffs

  1. coursepate

    Since I live in the general vicinity, I want someone outside the government to look very carefully at the plans. If we have learned anything it is to err on the side of caution, especially as it applies to water resources and the impact from higher elevations … at some point common sense should kick in …. should we really be offering permits for water intensive structures and how many actual building permits should be allowed when area water resources are already in limited supply …

  2. LOKEL

    I believe that the development has applied for access to water service from the City of Asheville …

  3. Reality Check

    The Cliff’s isn’t a normal development. There is money dripping from all involved. They need to spend some of that money on protecting the environment while they build that neighborhood. If they have to do some ‘extreme engineering’, so be it.

  4. blueridgeliving

    The LAST thing western North Carolina needs is a stupid, ill-conceived, ridiculously-placed golf course for the uber-rich. Tiger Woods be damned. Who is looking out for us? Who is watch-dogging the inevitable excessive erosion, run-off, destruction of delicate flora and fauna? I cannot begin to express how SICK and tired I am of the completely unnecessary development of our luxuriously verdant forests. Who will have the courage to say, “No, not this time.”

  5. West Asheville

    This golf course is going to be spectacular!! We are so fortunate to have the one and only Tiger Woods course in the country in our backyard!! This will truly help the declining number of tourist Asheville so badly needs during these times and create some badly needed jobs.

  6. Reality Check

    I wish they would dig the tunnel under the mountain instead of plowing that road over. Going over the mountain is massively more invasive.

  7. blueridgeliving

    How ’bout NO ROAD AT ALL? How ’bout they keep the stupid golf courses on the eastern side of the state where they belong? Where there are miles and miles and miles of FLATLAND?

    I was born and raised in eastern NC, right next door to the world-famous #2 and #7 at the Pinehurst Hotel.

    Golf courses don’t BELONG here and it’s counter-productive and frankly, foolish to try to FORCE our own will on Nature.

  8. MtnTopDoveTail

    As a resident that lives only 300 yards from the development, I have already experienced environmental disturbances from The Cliffs. We now have a dried up creek bed, displacing the habitats of hundreds of mountain salamanders, Bears being run out of their territory by invasive construction, and clouds of smoke from the giant fires they light to burn the trees they are upending (Yes, they are burning the trees, not mulching them for reuse)

    Problem is, nobody seems to care enough to do anything about it. Unfortunately, it’s gonna take money. These guys are well funded and are willing to go above and beyond to make this golf course a reality.

  9. blueridgeliving

    To MtnTopDoveTail: Um…please forgive me for responding to you directly, but have you talked to your neighbors? Started an email chain? A phone tree? While I certainly do agree with you that the deck is stacked against we poor peasants, I must say that every so often justice does prevail! Look at what just happened recently when the melonheads (sometimes called: County Commissioner) actually SOLD a piece of property downtown for DEVELOPMENT which Mr. Pack had plainly and clearly said the property could NOT be sold for!!

    A judge with a brain in her head said, “Uh. NO.”

    I’ve lived here for 17 years now, and I’ve seen it just get worse and worse. But I’ve also seen a time or two when ENOUGH voices and yells and screaming did actually STOP THE BULLDOZERS.

    It all comes down to the peasants. Us. You and me. How willing are we to get up off the couch?

  10. MtnTopDoveTail

    To blueridgeliving: Well, we really don’t have neighbors right now. We are a little remote up here. And our neighbors are unfortunately, none too friendly no matter how hard we have tried to connect.

    Swannanoa IS trying to fight. We are working on incorporation right now to prevent things like this. And the new slope laws will impact any further developments. (Unfortunately, The Cliffs corporation obtained their permits right before this change)

    Above all, as odd as it sounds, the Mountain is rejecting them. Landslides, fires, and many many obstacles in their original development have emerged. This water permit may finally do it. In the end, if the land doesn’t want them here, it will find a way to make it difficult.

  11. MtnTopDoveTail

    And to answer your question: I certainly tried. I contacted permit offices, checked blasting ordinances (Which are really broad in Buncombe, hardly any protection for homeowners). I spoke to city council, the county commissioner, the president of The Cliffs, the top Developers for the company, and the owners of the blasting companies. I met with several of them. Only to be, quite honestly, shrugged off as another poor schmuck complaining homeowner. The media didn’t even seem to be concerned with my story. It was made very clear to me that if I didn’t have the means to take them to court, the matter was closed.

  12. blueridgeliving

    To MtnTopDoveTail-Wowie. Yes, it sounds like you most certainly did go to a great deal of trouble and spend a great deal of time trying to get someone “official” to take note of what was going on.

    Kudos to you – most people do not go beyond an email or a phone call. If they even do that.

    And I do not think your comment about “the mountain rejecting them” is odd in the least. I wholeheartedly concur with that assessment of what is going on, and what will continue to go on. Gaia is rebelling, and not a millennium too soon. A species which continues to foul its own backyard does not deserve to survive, frankly.

    The author of this article has been very responsible and thorough in providing a variety of contact information, and I sincerely hope that everyone who has read this article will call and write and email and visit all those connected with this ill-conceived project.

    And I think I will go a step further.

    I think I’ll spend a little time with Google to see if I can come up with a direct line to Tiger Woods.

    I think Mr. Woods should be inundated with detailed, polite, intelligent commentary on exactly WHAT it is he is signing on for.

    I think people who do not LIVE here haven’t a CLUE about the consequences of their actions.

  13. blueridgeliving

    To MtnTopDoveTail: Also, let me throw this in.

    You are right about you not being able to do anything alone. You are alone when you go and try to talk to those “people.” Unless, of course, you have a big fat expensive lawyer tagging along.

    I will tell you the ONLY way projects like this are stopped.

    By the sheer volume and weight and decibel level of John and Jane Q. Public.

    “Letters to the Editor” uublished by the hundreds. Phone calls by the hundreds to all those involved in the project – to the highest guy on the ladder to the guy who drives the bulldozer. Detailed and empirically-backed data outlining WHY this project simply cannot go through making up the body of the emails and letters, always polite and professional. And PASSIONATE. Perserverence.

    This article is a good start – but I am disheartened to have NOT seen this story splattered all over Asheville.

    Tiger Woods should be ashamed. And so should the people of the Asheville area who may have been silenced by the presence of a sports god.

    Pshaw. He’s a whore who has sold out and I dismiss him. What’s more important than a celebrity? The superb filtration systems designed by God and carried out by Nature by giving us “The Cliffs” as virgin, unspoiled, purifying land mass.

    I believe clean water is far more essential than golf. Or a thousand more unneeded brand new homes. Uh… last time I checked, weren’t there millions of unoccupied homes currently left empty by foreclosures in this country??

    I think the time for rational thought by government officials is long overdue.

  14. francois Manavit

    mountain top dove , can you contact me ?
    We are trying to raise consciousness about all those consequences .

  15. MtnTopDoveTail

    Francois Manavit: Sure can. How could I get in touch with you.

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