River Walk article

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Posted by Susan on July 31, 2000 at 18:36:50:

The following appeared in The Charlotte Observer today:

N.C. may take forest planned for development

Hendersonville- The council of State, a 10-member body of the state's top elected officials, will discuss this week whether to force a developer to sell land with three spectacular waterfalls in the middle of a state forest.

Insurance Commissioner Jim Long, who cannot attend the meeting Tuesday, already has voted yes to the state using its power of eminent domain to force S.C. developer Jim anthony to sell the 2,223 acres in the middle of DuPont State Forest.

"If we lose that land to development, we will never be able to reclaim it," Long said.

The land is home to Lake Julia and several other lakes, mountain bogs and forests and three breathtaking cascades: High Falls, Triple Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls. It sits on the border of Transylvania and Henderson counties.

Anthony, of Table Rock, S.C., bought the land last year for 6.35 million, ourbidding by $850,000 a conservation group that wanted to buy the tract for the state.

At first, he said he had no plans to build homes on the property, but would use it as a private park for residents of his three golfing develoopments in the S.C. Upstate. Four months later, he announced he would build up to 100 large vacation homes there in a development called the Cliffs of Brevard.

In May, Anthony agreed to halt most construction at the site to allow time for negotiations over the land's fate. That moratorium, extended once, is now set to expire Aug. 8.

Anthony said he cannot sell the property. "I have made promises to people who have bought property in other communities. I would be sued if I sold that property," he said, declining further comment.

Gov. Jim Hunt proposed at the Council of State meeting in April that the state force the developer to sell all the land. Sherri Evans-Stanton, deputy secretary for policy and programs for the N.C. department of Environment and Natural Resources, said her department was instructed to look at options to protect the land.

"If it is possible to reach an agreement that addresses all the issues, and it could be done in a way that avoids condemnation, I think there would be support for that," she said.


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