Letter writer: Old Coggins Farm should be protected, not developed

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Did you ever just want to strangle somebody and get it over with? There’s a line in one of my songs that goes, “I’m gonna put you out of my misery.” I’m kidding, of course, but that’s how it feels for a lot of us right now as we read David Case’s quote about the proposed Sovereign Oaks development on the Old Coggins Farm in the June 24 issue of Mountain Xpress. (No personal offense, David.)

In the well-written article by Xpress reporter Carrie Eidson, Case is quoted as saying, “We’re really excited and we have a beautiful project.” He goes on to say, “The land is exquisite, and it’s going to be a special project. There will be lots of community gathering points and trails.”

Hold everything! This is a pristine, historic family farm that a developer is proposing to put under high-end housing in a community that is already struggling with insufficient farmland. (See www.fourfutures.org for a thoughtful and powerful video series about farmland and land use in the North Carolina mountains.)

What could the developer possibly be excited about other than the idea of profiting from doing the wrong thing in the wrong place at the wrong time? The Asheville area already has a surplus of unsold high-end real estate and we certainly don’t need one more “Sovereign Oaks,” especially on a farm that could and should be protected while offering much higher benefits to the community, as you will see at the Four Futures website.

Look up the word “sovereign” in the dictionary. It’s insightful, and it’s worth the trouble.

— Ian Booth
Sustainable Now

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4 thoughts on “Letter writer: Old Coggins Farm should be protected, not developed

  1. Curious

    If the Coggins family wanted to preserve the farm, why did they sell it to a developer? If the neighbors wanted to prevent a developer from buying the farm, why didn’t they get together and work out a purchase agreement with the Coggins family? Why is the Coggins family role in all of this never mentioned? Why aren’t the efforts of the conservers/neighbors to buy the property themselves ever mentioned.

    • Hello,
      Our publisher has asked that I respond to your comment as an Xpress reporter who has previously covered the Coggins Farm property (though I am not the writer of this letter). You can find our previous coverage of this topic, including the answers to all your questions, here: http://mountainx.com/tag/cogginsfarm.

      In short, other community groups, including the Coggins Conservation Project, did announce intentions to purchase the property, but I believe funding and also time were factors that prevented this from happening. You can find more information on CPP here: http://cogginsconservation.org/. There was also a considerable amount of organizing by Riceville residents/ neighbors when Case Enterprise LLC announced its initial plans for the property, and you can find more information on that history in our previous coverage as well. Xpress has previously contacted Copper Coggins, the owner of the property who finalized the sale of her land to developers David Case and partners, but she declined to comment.

  2. Elana

    I have seen several of theses “opinion” articles put in every area media outlet that will allow them only to be disgusted by the self promotion of one money making agenda over another. This has not been a family “farm” in many years, owned by a single individual, yes, farmed by the singular individual or a member of that individuals family, no. The preservation of farm land is essential however farmers have to farm the land for it to work, land is expensive, farming is expensive so profit has to be made. There has been no displacement of the rural farmer in this case. It’s a great idea to perserve the land for public use but again that is also expensive, look at the cost a municipality has to maintain a public park. If this private land becomes open to the public the same requirements for liability insurance and ADA would begin at add up so again, money has to be generated. At the end of the day the person with authority to sell put this property out to the open market for anyone with the funds required for purchase and someone else with those funds showed up regardless of the entitlement others may feel toward the property.

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