Major Development In The Future Of The River Walk

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Posted by Rich on October 20, 2000 at 03:08:21:

This may get uglier before it gets better, but better DOES seem to be on the horizon ... or, so we certainly hope!

From Friends of the Falls, last night ...

Moratorium Ends - State Vows to Acquire Property
The past 24 hours has seen a flurry of news about the future of the 2200 acres inside the DuPont State Forest. First, the State announced that negotiations have broken down with developer Jim Anthony; the moratorium expired on Monday of this week and Anthony refused to renew it. Second, Anthony scheduled a press conference at his property today to discuss his planned development of up to 300 home sites, which is almost ready to begin selling property. But the most interesting development, first reported by Harrison Metzger of the Hendersonville Times-News, is that senior State officials are now openly acknowledging that they are now moving towards condemnation of the property in response to the breakdown. (See Times News Story link at end of message)

As you probably know, Friends of the Falls has been calling on the State to acquire the entire 2200 acre inholding as the only way to fully protect the Forest and the only workable way to guarantee full public access to High Falls, Triple Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls. While we appreciate the effort expended by the Hunt administration to achieve these objectives by negotiation, we have never believed that any workable agreement could be reached with this type of exclusive development.

The main sticking point appears to be the extent of public access; the State does not want the public to be restricted as second class citizens around the waterfalls. But enforceability appears to be another major sticking point. Anthony's promise to transfer control of part of his acreage looks good on the surface until you examine the details. By deferring decisions on access policies to yet-to-be-defined boards, Anthony could exercise enough direct and indirect influence to further limit public access in the future. We fear that he is trying to set the stage for another "bait and switch" maneuver, as we all witnessed from Sterling and Anthony during and after the 1999 property sale. Fortunately, it doesn't appear that our State officials are about to fall for such a tactic.

Where will this lead?
We don't know for sure how or when this will end up. Certainly the State's new bold position could lead the parties back to the bargaining table. But from news reports, it appears that the State is much closer to acquiring the property outright than at any previous time during the past seven months.

What can you do?
Friends of the Falls supporters should express our gratitude to Governor Hunt and Attorney General Mike Easley for their steadfast support of protection and access to the Heart of the DuPont Forest. Because we expect a fair amount of noise from property rights and pro-development groups, it is important that we reassure our State leaders that the public supports their position.

Finally, thanks to all our supporters for not loosing faith in the future of the DuPont Forest.

Contact Governor Hunt:

800-662-7952 or (919) 733-4240
Fax: (919) 733-2120

Contact Attorney General Mike Easley:

(919) 716-6000
Fax: (919) 716-6050

Read Times News article "State officials vow to take waterfall land"


So, folks ... if you want to walk the Walk, ever again, keep the pressure on, please!


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