Thursday, March 15, 2007

Mills River Development

We have been following the efforts of a development group who want to put a gated community in an area of North Carolina's North Mills River. The community would be completely surrounded by the Pisgah National Forest with the only access being via narrow road through a park service campground.

The developer has turned down an offer of 2x the purchase price of the property by the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy. While the Henderson County, North Carolina planning board is recommending denial of the proposed plan, the general feeling is that this will probably only delay the plan and possibly limit the number of houses built. It is doubtful it will actually stop development of the property. One reader who lives in the Mills River community has asked his representative to seek federal funds to aid in the purchase of the land back from the developer. Here is the text of his call to action from a posting on the Southeast fly fishing forum.

Ladies and Gents,

The idea of the federal government helping pay for purchasing some or all of the Big Creek Lodge property has been presented to Representative Heath Shuler. They have been watching the situation and it will be their determination if they want to push for federal funding. If they decide to it will be because they hear from the local community. The message to them is simply this:

1. This is an important priority for us.
2. We hope that all or a portion of the property can be preserved.
3. Please help us with conservation dollars.

I think they have until Friday to determine if this will be a priority for them. Therefore, it would be beneficial if the local interested people contact Shuler's office via fax, e-mail, or phone to reiterate their support for this potential. If you have already contacted Representative Shuler about this issue, please do it again.Phone:(202) 225-6401 Fax: (202) 226-6422

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