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Horse Shoe Farm development advances

Land planner Bob Grasso shows the audience renderings of the cottages proposed for Horse Shoe Farm. Land planner Bob Grasso shows the audience renderings of the cottages proposed for Horse Shoe Farm.

Plans for a 220-unit development at Horse Shoe Farm took a step toward reality when the Henderson County Planning Board recommended that the Board of Commissioners rezone the 85-acre site.

John Turchin, a third-generation developer from Miami, announced plans this month for the Sanctuary at Eagles Nest, a “lifestyle destination community” made up of 700- to 1,200-square-foot cottages, walking trails, a farm-to-table restaurant, fitness center and other amenities.
“There’s 5 million baby boomers a year turning 65, there’s a 100 million of us in the next 20 years,” Turchin told the Planning Board last month. “What are we looking for? We’re looking for an alternative to single-family home communities. What we’re trying to build is an all-inclusive community with huge open spaces, miles of walking trails, over 60 percent open green space.
Houses would be modular structures built in a factory and assembled on site. Homes would be clustered in “pocket communities” of eight to 16 dwellings “with community gardens throughout,” Turchin said. They would rent for $3,600 to $4,000 a month, a rate that would include utilities, one meal a day at the restaurant and use of the amenities.
JohnTurchinJohn TurchinTurchin said he had hired expert designers in resort development and independent living.
“We believe when we’re completed it’ll be nationally recognized as a leading community of the future, putting Hendersonville in the limelight,” he said. “This is a hybrid. It’s new, it hasn’t been done. Change is always fearful to people. No one ever wants change but change is inevitable.”
More than a dozen speakers made it clear that they opposed this change, citing concerns about the density and traffic congestion and losing the pastoral farmscape on South Rugby Road.
“We think the farm is beautiful as it is,” said Frank Dezzutto, who lives in Tamarac across the road from the property. “We’d like it to stay that way.”
Residents questioned a traffic impact analysis that a consultant presented showing that the development would not overload Rugby Road or require a center turn lane.
“The traffic study was based on these dwellings being retirement dwellings,” said Bruce Benton, another Tamarac resident. “There’s no guarantee of that … If this doesn’t make it we’re going to be saddled with a lot of cheap houses.”
One resident brought up Seven Falls, the huge proposed development on the French Broad River in Etowah that failed before its creator went to prison.
“My question is what happens if this doesn’t make it,” said Micky Purnell of Tamarac. “We don’t need another Seven Falls.”
Planning Board Chair Steve Dozier defended the Horse Shoe farm proposal, saying it was no higher in density than the current R-2 zoning allows.
“The only person I’ve ever seen that wanted change was a baby with a wet diaper,” he said. “It could be 206 apartments (under R-2 zoning). It could make it a lot worse than what’s proposed.”
Planning Board member Jim Miller said if the development succeeds questions about traffic will resolve themselves.
“In my experience as a grading contractor, if he gets far enough along there will be a turning lane,” Miller said. “All these sewer questions, all these traffic questions will be answered.”
“He’s playing by the rules,” Eric Goodman added. “I don’t see anything we can hold him up on. I am concerned about the traffic and I understand the neighbors’ concern but I really think it’s the DOT’s concern to address.”
The board voted 5-1 to recommend the rezoning. Bruce Hatfield voted no, saying he owned property in Georgia that was devalued when a large development went up beside it.
The Board of Commissioners is expected to take up the rezoning request at its Dec. 5 meeting.