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Deni McIntyre

 Preserve Crab Creek


Last spring, a developer requested a permit to build a 125,758-square-foot self-storage facility at 547 Crab Creek Road.  That's as large as a big-box retail store.  In September, Henderson County's Zoning Board of Adjustment unanimously denied the permit.  


In October, the developer appealed the county's decision to the Superior Court of North Carolina. Here's the developer's petition to the Superior Court.  Here's the Superior Court document that grants his request for review of the county's decision.

The county is the defendant in this lawsuit.  We chose to "intervene," hiring our own attorney and having a neighbor become a party to the suit.  This gives Crab Creek neighbors and friends the right to participate in the decision-making process going forward.  Otherwise, the court, the county, and the developer would decide the future of Crab Creek with no input from us.  If you'd like to help us cover the cost, please donate here


Since we heard about the developer's intentions last spring, Crab Creek neighbors and friends have argued that putting a giant storage facility five miles into the unspoiled countryside is:

  • Incompatible with a rural residential area; 

  • Likely to devalue nearby residential properties; 

  • Likely to pollute Mud Creek, which feeds the French Broad River; and

  • Unsafe for a variety of reasons. 

Also, Crab Creek Road is the gateway to DuPont State Forest, Holmes State Forest, Camp Blue Star, Camp Tekoa, and parks, camps, and resorts farther west.  With outdoor recreation in Western NC generating $83.3M per year from visitors and $31.7M from locals, it's important to protect the entrance to these economic engines.


Often, a storage facility in a rural area is a Trojan horse that opens the door to more strip commercial development.  That's what happened at Apple Country Storage on Chimney Rock Road, which was built by the same developer.  First, a Dollar General popped up next door, then five other commercial entities.  If the storage facility is built in Crab Creek, there's nothing to stop the same spread of strip commercial.  In fact, we're told that the storage-facility developer will soon purchase the adjacent property. 


Crab Creek is an increasingly rare commodity in today's real estate market:  an attractive, high-value rural residential setting with active agriculture, multiple summer camps, and proximity to tens of thousands of acres of wild land.  That's why real estate here is increasingly expensive.  If the storage facility and adjacent strip commercial development invites noise, lights, traffic, car exhaust, and crime into our community, the value of residential properties will drop.  (See our expert report from MAI appraiser Ray Murphy, as well as supplementary information from Ray Murphy and MAI appraiser Don Read.)


The proposed storage facility includes more than seven acres of “hardscape” — roofs, pavement, and bits of manicured lawn — alongside Mud Creek, which feeds the French Broad River.  Hardscape causes polluted storm water to drain directly into nearby waterways, rather than seeping into the ground, which filters it naturally.  (See our expert witness Barrett Kays' excellent report on stormwater.)  The county is supposed to grant this permit only if it “minimize[s] the environmental impacts on the neighborhood.”  Let’s make sure this happens.


The proposed storage facility is near a blind curve on a high-speed rural road that has a history of serious accidents.   (See our expert witness Rick Hall's stunning report on traffic safety.)  Also, storage facilities are targets for break-ins, potentially generating neighborhood crime.  Fires often start in such facilities, sometimes because people store flammable chemicals and sometimes because storage units are used as meth labs.  In a dry year, a fire in a storage facility could easily spread to nearby houses.  Finally, storage units often contain food garbage, which attracts vermin. 

Learn more about the rules that govern the county’s decision on a “special use permit” for this storage facility.  See Article XI (Review Processes and Procedures), Section 42-356(H)(1).