Letter: Woodfin should deny Bluffs development

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I applaud Silver-Line Plastics and the Silver family for donating 4.5 acres in 2012 and the town of Woodfin for purchasing its adjacent acre to create the Silver-Line Park. Picnic areas, walking trails, a children’s playground, a boat ramp and the Whitewater Wave are all coming to Woodfin!

$18.1 million will be spent to make that area of the French Broad a vibrant mecca for river runners, bikers and outdoor enthusiasts. Woodfin should promote the health of the river, since they clearly “get” its value to tourism and future residents, all providing a steady increase in tax base.

Why consider a proposed “town” along 4,000 feet of river frontage on 92 acres of mature forest on steep slopes, knowing that once 70% of those woods are replaced with impervious surfaces, runoff and sediment will destroy the creation Woodfin has enthusiastically and financially supported? The beautiful future Silver-Line Park, bike trails and Wave will be a flooded sediment nightmare.

Woodfin is seduced by the $1.5 million alleged increase in its tax base, which is [16.6%] added to its overall budget. Sounds enticing for sure, but here’s reality. How much will the needed police, fire, schools, pollution and river cleanup cost once the “town” of high-end apartments with zero affordable housing is built and the developers are all back sunning in Florida? Road infrastructure to funnel traffic to the bridge will whittle down that $1.5 million like sand in an hourglass. Asheville taxpayers will pay for improvements on those area roads.

Instead of approving the Bluffs, Woodfin has an opportunity to stand out as a community that values its natural resources and cares about its citizens’ health, safety and welfare. The town must implement environmental impact studies, keep property taxes affordable, clean up the river and deny the Bluffs on River Bend.

— Callie Warner


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5 thoughts on “Letter: Woodfin should deny Bluffs development

  1. Robert McGee

    I also applaud the town of Woodfin for its many visionary planned improvements, and I am equally appalled by The Bluffs proposal in its current form. In addition to the fact that this project is being pushed through without proper environmental and traffic studies, I believe that a project of this magnitude should include thorough vetting of all developers and builders who would, ultimately, be building an entire town and re-shaping the future of Asheville and Woodfin. Shouldn’t we require testimonials from humans in other areas where the developer’s projects have doubled the number of residents? What was it like to work with these people? What care did they take with the neighbors and natural resources? Were there any legal or financial issues such as bankruptcies, walking away from stalled projects and leaving locals to clean up and pay for the mess? There are so many unanswered questions related to fire safety and traffic. Richmond Hill has been a thriving neighborhood for more than 60 years. The French Broad River has been around for millions more. Surely we humans can take a bit more time to get this right. Please urge council members of Woodfin and Asheville not to rush to make the wrong decision!

  2. Enlightened Enigma

    Seems like a well planned community with lots of needed housing in an appealing part of the area. If not here then where ?

    • Robert McGee

      Enlightened Enigma is only enigmatic is his/her/their bizarre comments. Nothing enlightened at all about jamming an entire town onto a plot of land without proper infrastructure before conducting environmental and traffic impact studies.

      E.E. asks ‘If not here, then where?’
      The question really should be, ‘If here, then where else?’ What if future developers say, ‘Why not demolish pricey homes in Biltmore Forest or near Beaver Lake and build vertically?’ That would create more homes…ah, but then those are wealthy white people, not diverse working-class citizens of Richmond Hill.

    • Mike

      Huh? How is it well planned when the only current access is on an already degraded residential street that has two blind curves and failing pavement (as a result, IMO, of the heavy vehicle traffic from the National Guard Armory at the end of the road)? The bridge across the French Broad the development would supposedly have hasn’t even officially had a site determined yet, let alone been permitted. How is it well planned when the promotional representation of the development shows buildings and roads perfectly plopped down into existing woods that will, in reality, be mostly removed as the steep slopes of the site are graded for development? How is it well planned when no consideration has been given to how Riverside Drive, 19-23, Elk Mountain, or Jonestown roads will deal with exponentially increased traffic? How is it well planned when no consideration has been given to how increased fire, police, and school resources will be created?

      As I’ve posted before, I respect a property owner’s right to develop his/her own land, but that has to be within reason and planned for all impact, and this development fails to do any of that so far.

  3. Robert McGee

    WHAT’S THOROUGHLY APPALLING is that, despite numerous polite invitations, our local council members of Woodfin and Asheville have not even bothered to drive 3 miles to visit Richmond Hill Drive to speak with long-time residents/taxpayers/voters and view the parcel upon which The Bluffs Monstrosity would sit. This is an atrocity–nothing less than a holocaust against nature and a suppression of our voices.

    What must we do to catch the attention of those who say they LOVE ASHEVILLE and who claim to be ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY and SUPPORTIVE OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING and yet continually KOWTOW TO WEALTHY OUT-OF-STATE DEVELOPERS WHO DON’T GIVE A DAMN ABOUT OUR TOWN?

    Do we boycott Asheville businesses, elect new leaders and/or tie ourselves to trees?

    Let me assure you that I am a much better ally than foe.

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