EROSION CONTROL IS AN ISSUE
The Asheville Citizen-Times is reporting...
For the first time in five years, infrastructure work will take place at the idle Seven Falls development in Henderson County.
It may not be the total overhaul property owners would like to see at Seven Falls, but it’s a step toward dealing with overgrowth and severe erosion problems.
Earlier this month, a Henderson County judge granted an “emergency relief” petition for the county to spend $260,360 for grass seeding, cleaning of drainage traps and other work to stop erosion and slope slides.
“You’d have to be crazy for it not to be a good step,” said Kenneth Blecher, a Fort Myers, Fla., resident who bought a lot in Seven Falls in 2007.
Blecher is among dozens of property owners who have been stuck with property that lost much of its value after work stopped at the development in 2008.
Most property owners cannot even access their land anymore because the development lacks roads or the existing dirt roads are badly eroded.
Developer Keith Vinson and four others were indicted on federal bank fraud charges, with authorities alleging they were part of a scheme to circumvent loan regulations to funnel more money to Seven Falls.
In a separate state case, Vinson will appear in Henderson County Superior Court on Monday to face insurance fraud charges. Authorities say Vinson withdrew money from employees’ pay for insurance but did not provide insurance coverage.
Planned to have 900 homes and an Arnold Palmer golf course, the 1,400-acre Seven Falls property fell into bankruptcy in September 2008. A federal judge kicked the bankruptcy case out in July 2010, ruling that Seven Falls lacked a reasonable chance of reorganizing.
Henderson County Attorney Russ Burrell said Wednesday he sought the emergency order to kick-start work on the project and stop erosion.
The work will be paid for by the proceeds of a $6 million bond the county required the project developer to arrange to get county approval for plans.
The county has received the $6 million bond funds, Burrell said, but it wants to get property owner input on how to use them before proceeding with more extensive work. Burrell said necessary road and infrastructure work likely will exceed $6 million, probably by a million dollars.