A controversial proposed subdivision is now becoming a reality. David Case, lead developer for Coggins Farm L.L.C., has confirmed to Mountain Xpress that his company will finalize its purchase of 169 acres of historic farmland off Riceville Road known as Coggins Farm today, June 19, at 5 p.m.
Some Asheville residents have questioned the development’s staying power and environmental impact claiming it would cause dangerous erosion, poor traffic conditions and contribute to the loss of historic farmland. However, the development company has promoted the project as being focused on “agriculture and sustainable living,” according to its website.
Though earlier plans for the development included a community school, greenhouses and housing designed to help seniors age in place, much of this has been removed from the current proposal. The final site plan calls for only 99 units, whereas previous plans, criticized by Riceville residents for high-density, called for as many as 382 units.
“We’re really excited and we have a beautiful project,” Case told Xpress. “The land is exquisite and it’s going to be a special project. There will be lots of community gathering points and trails.”
Case adds that the development will now be called Sovereign Oaks.
Other community groups, including the Coggins Conservation Project, had sought to purchase the land for smaller-scale development with a focus on sustainable land practices including New Ruralism principals and conservation easement. Ron Ainspan, a founding member of CCP and former resident of Coggins Farm, said the group hopes to work with the developers and continue promoting New Ruralism in Western North Carolina.
“It’s a disappointment that [Coggins Farm] is being developed in a way that I don’t think is in the spirit of the original development concept for the property,” Ainspan said. “Coggins Conservation Project had hoped to maintain the property primarily as a place for agriculture and as a public resource. But we would really like to keep the communication lines open and explore the possibility of continuing those ideas.”
Ainspan said the group will continue to maintain its website for updates.