As an eight-year resident of Flat Top Mountain in Fairview, I have witnessed many changes and much development along our scenic byways and mountain lands. The Cliffs at High Carolina will be historic not only for Buncombe County (as the largest development ever), but for residents of Flat Top Mountain and the Spring Mountain communities who will be intimate neighbors to this project of grand scale. I wish to publicize my concerns in an effort to participate in our democracy and stand up for the little piece of heaven I call home.
As stated in an article by Rebecca Bowe [“When Your Back Yard Is The Cliffs,” Green Scene, July 30], much of our worry centers upon the Tiger Woods signature golf course under construction. The enormous amounts of water required to irrigate a typical 18-hole course got my attention, particularly since much—if not all—of this water is anticipated to come from wells drilled into Flat Top Mountain’s aquifer. Readers don’t need me to remind them that Western North Carolina is in a category-D4 drought (D4 [means] exceptional, on a scale of 0-5). All of the current residents on Flat Top are like little aphids drilling down to the aquifer—and a golf course’s demand for water may dry up [sources for] any one or more of us. This is a quality-of-life issue for established residents here, not a matter of recreation.
Furthermore, the word “green” has been bandied about ever since Mr. Anthony held a “town hall” at the Spring Mountain Community Center last year. Mountain residents remain very concerned about the use of fertilizers, pesticides and other unnatural “enhancements,” if you will, to beautify and propagate the greens of this so-called green golf course. What are The Cliffs’ plans to mitigate these impacts? Will they be at all significant as truly green measures, or merely a way to soften the blow? The applications to the golf course will inevitably result in additional impacts to the waters downstream from it all.
Another serious concern for current residents will be the impact on stream channels, natural springs and wetland areas that provide water to families of humans as well as indigenous wildlife and flora on the mountains. While I am aware that The Cliffs has submitted the necessary application(s) for permission to impact these sensitive areas, I feel that more public input, mutual education and the exchange of ideas may be necessary in order to reach a point where existing residents are satisfied, our watershed is protected, and The Cliffs can become a good neighbor. I cannot presume to speak for Mr. Anthony or The Cliffs; however, in the past they have been quite willing to meet with our community, and I would suggest that it is time for a public hearing on these matters before irreparable damage to the environment and the good will of Fairview’s community.
— Larissa Bowman, DVM