Free Daily Headlines


Set your text size: A A A

‘No RV park,’ Etowah homeowners say as they rally to oppose rezoning

Hundreds of homeowners in Etowah are organizing to oppose a developer’s plans to build a 343-unit RV park in the middle of Etowah Valley Golf Club and Resort, raising concerns about reduced home values, traffic, noise and light pollution, high density recreational use and a threat to serenity.

A Wilmington, N.C.-based development company has applied for a special-use permit to allow the RV park on a reconfigured part of the 27-hole golf course along Brickyard Road. The zoning application, which is scheduled to be heard by the Zoning Board of Adjustment, and a major site plan, which was reviewed Tuesday by the county’s Technical Review Committee, spell out the proposal. Development details for the 174-acre site include:

  • Approximately 57 acres of disturbance
    • A 6,500-square-foot two-story leasing office
    • A new 45,000-square-foot two-story clubhouse
    • A 30,000-square-foot two-story sewer treatment facility near Salty Landing restaurant
    • 25 percent of the land (43.5 acres) left in open space
    • 343 RV spaces of approximately 2,000 square feet each.
    • A gravel driveway to each RV space
    • 725 parking spaces
    • 2½ miles of new 20-foot-wide roads
    • New access to U.S. 64
    • Additional access to Brickyard Road

News of the proposed develop over the past few days set off a familiar pattern of homeowners using social media, email and neighborhood meetings to rally opposition to the rezoning, research zoning laws and look up the size and weight of recreational vehicles.

Ward Seguin, who organized a group of 18 Etowah homeowners associations, is one of the leaders of the campaign to stop the RV park.

“We believe that it will have a significant adverse impact on property values,” he said. “We believe that it simply does not fit with the community here, and of course, we’re still trying to learn exactly what they’re planning to do. From my perspective, there’s still many unknown, unanswered questions about what they’re planning to do.”

In social media and on a newly created website, neighbors have raised concerns about traffic, large RVs they say would be too heavy for narrow bridges, the unsightliness of a two-story sewage treatment plant behind the Salty Landing restaurant and changing the character of the golf course community.

“People with campers, they’ve got fire pits and things like that,” Seguin said “You could have smoke in the evening drifting down in the valley and you could actually have smoke haze in the valley.”


RV park ‘strategically placed’ to preserve views

The Lightning was unable to reach the president of Tribute Companies, Matt Maynard. Formerly Biltmark Development, Tribute has developed, constructed and managed more than 6,000 multi-family units and built single-family, commercial, and mixed-use projects in Wilmington, Charlotte, Charleston and Asheville, the company says on its website. “Tribute builds and manages real estate by focusing on the acquisition and repositioning of historic structures and transforming them into vibrant living communities,” it said.

In its application, Tribute said the development would be “strategically placed in the center of the existing development” so neighbors maintain “their existing views and scenery. This use will remain in harmony with the surrounding area by keeping the existing perimeter of the golf course the same while providing the area the opportunity to bring in more tourists, which will provide additional revenue.”

“WNC Resort Properties LLC has a contract with the Tribute Group from Wilmington who are proposing an 18-hole golf course, new clubhouse upgrading of existing resort amenities and RV sites,” Tim Rice, managing partner of the corporation that currently owns the property, said in a statement, which also noted that full details of the proposal are available on the Henderson County website and that Tribute’s engineers plan a Zoom meeting with neighbors to talk about the project.


‘Negative impact cannot be overstated’

In Facebook comments, homeowners are sounding the alarm.

“This would virtually destroy an Etowah landmark which has existed since 1967,” wrote Annette Zita Huetter, who also created to oppose the rezoning. “The course is beautiful and forms an integral part of our community. The proposed plan would fundamentally reconfigure a majority of the course, resulting in 343 RV sites being scattered throughout. The negative impact to the beauty of our community and to property values of nearby houses cannot be overstated.”

Another neighbor, Robyn Brooks, noted the weight of the largest RVs.

“Driving down Greenwood Forest Drive this morning from RT 64, I noticed a sign: ‘13,000 lb. weight limit.’ I looked up the weight of Class A RVs (bus size). It states they are the heaviest RVs and weigh between 13,000 and 30,000 lbs. Our roads aren’t constructed to handle the weights and sizes of these large RVs.”

Seguin, the organizer of the coalition of HOAs, said homeowners plan to hire a lawyer to fight the rezoning before the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

“We’ve reached out to an attorney and he is just ensuring that he doesn’t have any conflicts,” he said. To pay for legal representation that could run into the tens of thousands of dollars, “we’re thinking of following the model that was used by the Crab Creek folks” who successfully fought a proposed ministorage development. “We’re looking at some kind of funding mechanism, organization, to allow people to make donations.”

Is Seguin retired?

“Well, I was a week ago,” he quipped. He had a 36-year career as a researcher with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Washington, D.C.

Besides attending the technical review meeting Tuesday, homeowners called a meeting for Tuesday night at Etowah Lions Club to talk about the proposed RV park and plan a campaign to oppose. They’ve already ordered yard signs and buttons emblazoned with “RV Park” behind a bright red strike-through.