In an action that appears less than aboveboard, the town of Woodfin annexed 114 acres of Asheville property abutting the ridge of Elk Mountain. There are now plans to build 184 condos and 12 single-family residences on that property (known as Cornerstone).
Why did Woodfin annex that property? Asheville has stringent steep-slope requirements; these were enacted in 2007, both for safety and aesthetic reasons. Woodfin has no steep-slope requirements.
If this property were still within the city limits of Asheville, the owner could not possibly obtain permission to build that high-density development.
This is not affordable housing; these are residences in a gated community, and they are expected to cost from $750,000 to $1.7 million each. All property taxes will go to the town of Woodfin, and all costs will be borne by Asheville and its residents.
There are two roads leading to Cornerstone, both within the city of Asheville; these are winding, narrow, potentially treacherous streets — and they will have to be used for years to accommodate heavy construction equipment — and thereafter by perhaps an additional 400 cars per day.
The Cornerstone land has been examined by the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality and has been classified as having moderate to high landslide potential. Existing downslope homeowners will face major risks — and are unable to purchase landslide insurance.
In addition, many of the Cornerstone units are only 10 feet away from existing residential property lines.
Beaver Lake Dam is classified as a “high hazard dam” by the N.C. Division of Water Quality; it poses a significant and deadly flood risk to area residents upon failure. Runoff from Cornerstone may well cause that dam to fail.
I urge all Asheville residents interested in both safety and aesthetics to attend the July 11 meeting of the Woodfin Planning & Zoning Committee from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. It is currently planned at the Woodfin Town Hall, 90 Elk Mountain Road, but it may be moved to another venue to accommodate the numbers of people expected to oppose this development.
— Karen S. Kennedy