My husband and I moved to Hendersonville from South Florida a few years ago to escape the city life and to settle down in the country, where the people are friendly and life is just more relaxed and simpler. After surviving a stroke and being told by doctors that I needed to make a lifestyle change, we thought this was the perfect move toward a healthier lifestyle and an overall happier existence. We found our dream home in the tranquil area of Crab Creek. We thought to ourselves how perfect this location was; it is in a beautiful, rural community with a short, 15-minute drive to conveniences available in downtown Hendersonville. We thought that this is where we will retire, no doubt about it.
Now fast-forward to April of 2021, and our future as well as the future of the Crab Creek community is in jeopardy, all based on the decision of five individuals who serve on a board called the Zoning Board of Adjustment with Henderson County. A decision that may potentially open the door to more commercial overdevelopment into a rural community. A decision that will be impossible to reverse if we allow yet another industrial enterprise to be built into a beautiful, pristine, natural environment.
In April of this year, a barely visible public notice with special use marked off and the words “SUP-21-02 Crab Creek Mini Storage” written was posted across our neighborhood. This notice triggered a chain of events that has united the Crab Creek community in a campaign to keep Crab Creek forever rural! Countless hours from volunteers such as myself and my husband have been spent on bringing awareness to the community and nearby areas to prevent a megasized, 125,758-square-foot storage facility spanning across close to 10 acres with 1,000 storage units from being built on 547 Crab Creek Road.
Since becoming aware of this notice, we have united a community; shared in a vision of the preservation of the Crab Creek community; created a nonprofit by the name of the Crab Creek Preservation Society; held a bluegrass music fundraiser; posted many PINKtastic signs from Hendersonville all the way to Brevard; held a rally; and have managed to raise $60,000 to help us pay for legal representation and to pay for expert witnesses to present to this Zoning Board of Adjustment at a hearing that took place on July 28.
So much work went into this hearing; however, we were only given enough time to have just one of our expert witnesses testify because the board members wanted to continue the hearing at a later date. It was getting too late for them to continue past 8:30 p.m. It didn’t matter how many late nights we have been spending visiting neighbors, calling potential donors and sourcing expert witnesses. It didn’t matter how many miles we have walked knocking on doors, how many times we had to hammer signs onto grounds, how many hours we spent on the phone planning and preparing for events because the fate of the community lies in the hands of these five board members, and we are at their mercy.
As a result of this delay in the hearing, we have to raise more money to get us through the second hearing date of Aug. 11. Is it worth it? Absolutely, because it’s not just our rural community that is at stake, it’s every rural community in the county that is just one vote away from being taken over by overdevelopment. It’s one decision from driving the farmers away, pushing away agriculture and driving locals away. The developer, Matt Cooke, currently owns a storage facility by the name of Apple Country Storage in Edneyville. A few years after he built that storage facility, a Dollar General was built right next door, and now there are currently seven commercial businesses surrounding that storage facility.
Unfortunately, there is nothing currently in place to stop this exact situation from recurring in other rural communities within Henderson County. We need to have legislation put in place; a comprehensive plan needs to be put in place for the Crab Creek community and other rural communities so that something like this does not happen again. It should be the responsibility of our planning department at the county level to protect and enhance the rural and small-town character of Crab Creek and not diminish it. We are not against progress; we are for the preservation of our beautiful rural communities and allowing for growth through proper planning.
There are currently 53 storage facilities within 20 miles of the proposed storage site; 37 storage facilities within 15 miles; and 13 within 10 miles. Henderson City Council just approved a project allowing the building of a new 99,000-square-foot storage facility off Asheville Highway. There is no need for yet another storage facility in our Crab Creek community. Why sacrifice the majestic beauty of the Crab Creek community for 1,000 storage units that add no value to the community or environment?
I plead with the board members of the Zoning Board of Adjustment, the decision-makers on Aug. 11, to take a drive on Crab Creek Road before the hearing. Enjoy the majestic drive through the canopy of trees, roll your window down and breathe the fresh air, take in the beauty of the farms along the side of the road, and watch out for cyclists, the deer and chickens that cross the road.
Crab Creek Road and its surrounding areas such as Holmes Educational State Forest, DuPont Forest, and the Penrose and Flat Rock areas are treasures that deserve to be preserved and protected. We have received such an outpouring of support that has crossed county and state lines. As you drive down Kanuga Road, which then converts to Crab Creek Road, you can visibly see the signs of support through the bright PINKtastic signs. We ask that you do as the signs read: Stop Crab Creek Storage Facility.
— Rocio Borghini