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Planning Board recommends 67-home subdivision on Howard Gap Road

Engineer Mike Anderson points out the Clear Creek floodway. Engineer Mike Anderson points out the Clear Creek floodway.

Turning aside neighbors’ concerns about traffic and flooding, the Hendersonville Planning Board on Monday recommended that the City Council OK a development of 67 homes on a 16.6-acre site near a Clear Creek floodplain.

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RDV Development has applied for Planned Residential Development zoning and is seeking voluntary annexation in order to tie on to city sewer service for the development, called the Cottages at Cypress Run.
Located on Howard Gap near Nix Road, the land is currently used for farming and owned by Mountain Bean Growers Inc., which would sell the property to RDV if the city approves the rezoning and annexation.
Neighbors urged the Planning Board to recommend against the rezoning.
“We already have a hard time getting out on that road,” said Ed McGuinn, who lives on Columbia Circle, directly across the road from the site. “You’re talking about 67 homes. That’s 134 cars. … we all know how busy it is already. Anybody driven on that road? Try turning left at 5 o’clock.”
Ed Graves , of 3175 Howard Gap Road, urged the Planning Board to consider not just what the zoning code allows but also “how this would affect our agricultural heritage, the flood-prone Clear Creek and the traffic on that stretch.”
Two other speakers also talked about traffic and flooding, saying covering farmland with houses, roads and sidewalks will inevitably worsen the flood conditions that are common now.
Mike Anderson, an engineer for the developer, said the development won’t make floodwaters higher or faster because federal law forbids it. FEMA will require engineers to submit plans to manage floodwaters.
“We direct water down into the retention plan so that it is not leaving the site any faster than the predevelopment condition,” Anderson said. “We’re going to develop this in a manner that accommodates future flooding and what’s happening out there now.”
Board member Steve Johnson asked whether that meant the development would result in no worse flooding than happens today.
“That’s the standard that FEMA holds us to, to not create any worse conditions in the floodplain than currently exists,” Anderson said. “We cannot increase the elevation nor the width of that non-encroachment — non-encroachment is another name for the floodplain.”
Howard Gap Road currently has about 6,400 vehicles per day, well under the traffic that the recent Howard Gap widening was designed to accommodate.
“The widening plan was good until 2027,” he said. “We’re well within the level of adequate service for that.”
Plans call for 67 lots ranging from about a tenth of an acre to just under a quarter acres with single-family homes from 1,490 to 1,820 square feet. The density of four units per acre is considerably less than the city’s Planned Residential Development allows and less than the maximum allowed under the county’s current R-1 zoning.
After an initial public hearing in December, the developer made revisions to address neighbors’ concerns.
“We went back and looked at a number of different issues to come out of that meeting,” Anderson said. One of them was an entry gate.
“It will not be a gated community so the gates are off the table at this time,” he said.