Cornerstone developer pulls out of Elk Mountain project

A map of the proposed Cornerstone development site shows the property in relation to Lakeview Park and Beaver Lake. Graphic from the website of Citizens for Responsible Land Use

At a rally held on Saturday, June 25 at Beaver Lake, a group of Lakeview Park residents announced that the developer of the 196-unit Cornerstone project on the ridgeline of Elk Mountain had backed out of the deal.

The group’s attorney, Derek Allen of Ward and Smith, was notified on Friday evening by Woodfin officials that Lake Mary, Florida-based Asheville Builders, LLC had withdrawn its zoning application for the project. Though all access to the 114-acre site runs through Asheville streets, the property itself was annexed into Woodfin in 2010 at the owner’s request. At that time, the land was zoned as Mountain Village, a classification that allows mixed-use development at a maximum density of 17 units per acre.

With the imminent threat of development off the table, said Tom Mock, a member of Citizens for Responsible Land Use, the 150-member group will turn its attention to longer-term protection or conservation of the land. “This land is a regional resource,” Mock commented. “You can see that mountain from any point north of downtown Asheville.” People move to this area for its beauty, he continued, making protection of the prominent ridgeline an aesthetic as well as an environmental priority.  At this point, Mock said, “We are in the early stages of trying to figure out what the options are for protecting the mountain.”

In response to the Cornerstone proposal, an online petition opposing the development drew over 1,000 signatures. At a meeting of the Woodfin Planning & Zoning Board on April 4, Lakeview Park residents enumerated a long list of concerns about the project: increased traffic on narrow roads, erosion, stormwater management, the danger of landslides, impact on wildlife and emergency access, among others. Though the average grade of the site is over 50 percent, steep slope development regulations did not apply to since Woodin, unlike Buncombe County or the city of Asheville, has no ordinances related to construction on steep slopes.

According to Mock, the developer withdrew the proposal in response to public opposition to the project.

 

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About Virginia Daffron
Managing editor, lover of mountains, native of WNC. Follow me @virginiadaffron

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7 thoughts on “Cornerstone developer pulls out of Elk Mountain project

  1. Lulz

    Would this be an issue of the land was in the city instead of Woodfin? Nope.

    • henry

      Such a development in the City would be impossible due to Asheville’s strict restrictions on steep slope construction. Buncombe County and Asheville have steep slope ordinances, whereas Woodfin does not.

      • J.M. Westall

        I find it odd that incorporated towns in the county are exempt from county regulations on steep slope construction.

        • henry

          It should be odd that the NC state controlled GOP hasn’t passed statewide steep slope regulations, since they want to control everything else. But on the other hand steep slopes aren’t personal rights, but an opportunity for rich developers to contribute to politicians who will allow development anywhere. As long as Woodfin can accept any development for annexation, there will be developers asking to be annexed. Ultimately, Asheville will be surrounded by the Town of Woodfin.

  2. boatrocker

    Aw crap-

    Now there’s one less place in town for halfback nouveau riche families to raise their Trump spawn in an all but gated community.
    Owned by out of town $.

    How will said families send children to a built in ‘every white tuition paying student is special’ school located onsite for taking up every remaining piece of land in town for building unsustainable/unaffordable housing for the rest of us peasants?

    Readers, if you care one way or another about this issue, those that read all 2 paragraphs without reaching for the
    Marie Antoinette/Ayn Rand playbook are the ones who might possibly save this town from becoming Austin/Brooklyn.

  3. Yep

    yawn…you should be ecstatic that people want to spend that kind of money into this area. the developer was SMART to get it
    annexed into Woodfins …perhaps the land will be subdivided into fewer single family lots at huge prices for the big spenders.

  4. dyfed

    Great job, guys. In a county with a vacancy rate of less than 1%, you’re busy making sure nobody actually builds any housing. Then you complain that rent is too steep.

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