Here comes more housing: 45-lot Craggy Park receives zoning approval

Presenting: David Tuch, President of Equinox Environmental, presents to the board the low impact environmental plan.
Environmental issues: Catherine Morris helped preserve the Falconhurst Natural Area, located near the soon to be development.
Environmental issues: Catherine Morris helped preserve the Falconhurst Natural Area, located near the soon to be development.

A 45-lot subdivision that had a contentious public hearing over traffic congestion and density received zoning approval at the Feb. 24 Asheville City Council meeting.

The Craggy Park subdivision will be located in two phases in the Falconhurst neighborhood in West Asheville, at 95 Craggy Ave. Council voted 6-1 to approve the conditional zoning, with Council member Cecil Bothwell returning the only no vote.

The 8.58-acre wooded site has a few homes on the property currently, and a stream running through the center. David Tuch of Equinox Environmental reported that his firm’s goal is to help make the development environmentally friendly.

“Our vision is a low impact development of careful balance. It’s going to be a livable community that’s beautiful, and friendly to the environment,” he said.

During the public hearing on the issue, there was blowback from residents, who cited concerns that even though the plan is to be eco-friendly, the end result may not be so.

“We have a commitment to the future to protect our natural environment,” said resident Catherine Morris. “We’ll be losing green space that is critical to the quality of life. If we don’t have sufficient spaces to recreate and enjoy an active lifestyle, visitors will go elsewhere.”

Greenway: developers haggled at the last minute to guarantee an easement to the proposed greenway running through the development.
Greenway: developers haggled at the last minute to guarantee an easement to the proposed greenway running through the development.

The development will feature a low-impact model that aims to protect and enhance the stream, offer energy-efficient homes, and provide public access to a planned greenway with an easement agreement which was hammered out at the last minute.

“There’s a good chance that the next developer will want to make this work solely financially,” said Vice Mayor Marc Hunt. “Leaving the woodlands intact, and the protection to the water is important. It’s something that 90 percent of developers wouldn’t do.”

Council member Jan Davis agreed, saying the development was a quality product.

“This is not something we’re likely to get if we just throw this open to others,” he said. “As much as people feel infringed upon, at the end of the process, they’ll be better for it.”

Here’s the full “action agenda”: aa2-24-15

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About Pat Barcas
Pat is a photojournalist and writer who moved to Asheville in 2014. He previously worked for a labor and social rights advocacy newspaper in Chicago. Email him at pbarcas@gmail.com. Follow me @pbarcas

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