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Landowners seek OK for lodge and club on Cabin Creek Road

Outline shows 48-acre site where property owners want to build a private club/ lodge and restaurant. [HENDERSON COUNTY PLANNING DEPARTMENT] Outline shows 48-acre site where property owners want to build a private club/ lodge and restaurant. [HENDERSON COUNTY PLANNING DEPARTMENT]

GREEN RIVER — A landowner who dropped plans for a 20-room inn amid intense neighborhood opposition last March has filed a new application to permit a lodge and private club on a 4½-acre site in a wooded area off Cabin Creek Road.

This time, the project does not require a rezoning. A  staff report describes both a “club/lodge” and “common area recreation and services facilities” as permitted uses in the county's Rural Two Residential zone. The use is permitted "by right" in the R2R zone and authorization lies with the Technical Review Committee, the panel made up of officials from the NCDOT, the health department, emergency and fire services, Hendersonville water and sewer systems and county building and stormwater offices. It does not go before the Planning Board or Board of Commissioners, county Zoning Administrator Matt Champion said in an emailed response to the Lightning's questions.
“The original was to rezone it for an inn and the problem is in the county there's no provision for an inn,” said Hunter Marks, of Watermark, the landscape architect for the project. “The only thing that it has is a hotel so we would have had to rezone to community commercial and that just didn't fly. (Cabin Creek Road residents) weren't comfortable with that and I can understand that. And so we're going back with club-lodge, which is by right. You can do that by right in our zoning.”
He said he’d prefer to let the applicant, Lark Elliot, describe the plans in more detail and answer other questions.
Called Tuxedo Falls — tagline “An Escape into Nature” — the development would be reached by a private road of just under a quarter mile. The landowner is seeking the county’s OK to build a 10,000-square-foot lodge that would include a restaurant and bar, pool, hiking trails and outdoor education opportunities. Plans that the county’s Technical Review Committee will take up next week show 33 parking spaces and the clearing of three acres for the lodge and associated uses.
“Cabin Creek Club inspires connection with the natural world by providing a homebase where members can enjoy, explore, and protect the woodlands, streams, mountains, and countryside of Western North Carolina,” says mission statement submitted as part of the application, using an earlier name for the project. It would be organized as a nonprofit requiring membership to use the lodge and enjoy its activities. People would apply for membership and, once approved, pay an annual fee based on which amenities they want to use, the developer said.
The site plan also shows a solid waste collection facility, a water storage tank for drinking water and fire protection, several retaining walls to accommodate steep slopes, 155 feet of road frontage along Cabin Creek Road and a 50-foot vegetative buffer around the developed area.
The owners also said in their application they intend to encourage community involvement and support of local retailers.
“In addition to encouraging members to enroll children in local summer camps to allow for their entry at the Club, the Club may arrange for local summer campers to experience the educational nature services available to members,” they said. “Additionally, to the extent possible, edible plants grown on-property could be made available to local farm-to-table restaurants. Finally, the Club will coordinate with local businesses to encourage patronage” of area businesses.
Last March property owners Daniel Park and Lark Park Elliot applied for a rezoning of the 48-acre vacant site from Residential Two Rural to Community Commercial in order for an inn, walking trails and other amenities. In September 2021 Park purchased 43 acres of the 48-acre site for $500,000 and Elliott bought 5 acres for $115,000, land records show.
Although there is no rezoning hearing, Cabin Creek Road residents are likely to argue ig given the chance that the use is inconsistent with the goal to preserve the rural character of forests, farmland and sparsely populated areas.

Surrounded by single-family homes, farmland and Camp Glen Arden, the site is part of a Rural Agricultural Area, which is “characterized by low-density residential development with substantial land areas devoted to agriculture and undeveloped lands,” the county's land-use ordinance says. “Most sections of the RAA are so far from sewer services as to make their extension largely impossible. Land development regulations should recognize this by not permitting densities that would require sewer services or introduce traffic capacity problems and by encouraging densities that are consistent with steep slopes, poor septic capacities, and sensitive topography.”
The site is also in a Conservation Area, a designation that also discourages dense development. “This category includes land areas that are intended to remain largely in their natural state, with only limited development,” the comp plan says. “Such areas should be targeted for protection through regulations and incentives.”