Speak now on future stream impacts

During the Buncombe County commissioners’ Fairview forum in May, the The Cliffs at High Carolina presented a perfect opportunity for a win-win situation.

The Cliffs wants to build a perfect, “green” golf course, using the name and reputation of Tiger Woods to demonstrate it. Commissioner Carol Peterson assured me that she will do everything possible to address our concerns about the chemicals used to make a golf course “green” and about watershed disturbances, erosion control and such, but she has not gotten back to me. (We both live in Fairview.) Only David Gantt took the time to talk and write to me about my concerns.

I recently filed a complaint with erosion control after seeing the branch on my land looking like the Amazon River after a storm. I live just a few hundred feet from The Cliffs’ entrance on Old Fort, and the creek (classified as a trout stream) is born on their land.

The Cliffs recently submitted an application to the Army Corps of Engineers for authorization to impact over 6,000 linear feet of stream channels, wetlands and open water in order to construct the golf course and residential development. You can read the entire application on the Web at www.saw.usace.army.mil/wetlands/notices/2008/0701619.pdf.

The Corps of Engineers is accepting public comment until Aug. 1 about the application from individuals, organizations and agencies concerned with the development’s probable impact regarding wetlands, water quality, water supply and conservation and other environmental concerns. After that, USACE will decide whether to issue or conditionally issue the permit, or deny the proposed work. They can also determine the need for a public hearing.

After reading the application, I have to say that the idea that “in lieu” mitigation—proposed to be performed outside Buncombe County—is simply inadequate and should be revised. Whatever is destroyed in Buncombe County should not be paid back to Henderson County, but might instead be prevented by buffering the most sensitive water area of development in Buncombe.

Preservation buffers should apply to all named streams and unnamed tributaries of the Spring Mountain community. Wetlands are the starting point of the spring system providing water to our residents—a water source for many generations. A disturbance will create a point of no return for the water quality of our area.

We can’t afford to lose our resources for the benefit of sport and entertainment. Special care should be applied in such a major development. A public hearing is needed for our community to address our concerns and give The Cliffs an opportunity to excel in its desire to create a “green” and perfect golf course.

Public comments, including requests for a public hearing, must be received by 5 p.m. on Aug. 1. Written comments are preferred and should be mailed to: USACE, Attention: Lori Beckwith, 151 Patton Ave., Room 208, Asheville NC 28801. E-mail comments may be sent (use both addresses) to Loretta.A.Beckwith@saw02.usace.army.mil and cyndi.karoly@ncmail.net.

— Francois Manavit


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