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Developer proposes 1,224 homes, apartments at Tap Root Dairy

An Asheville developer has submitted plans for a residential subdivision of 1,224 homes, townhomes and apartments on the Tap Root Dairy land on the French Broad River off Butler Bridge Road.

The application was filed by Ken Jackson, a third-generation developer and contractor, and engineer Warren Sugg. Plans show a develoopment of 545 single-family homes, 312 apartments and 361 townhomes on the 286-acre tract, a density of 4 units per acre. Plans submitted to the Henderson County planning department show the project buildout in 10 phases starting with 312 apartments in the first phase.

The county notified surrounding property owners of the application and announced a meeting at 3 p.m. Monday during which neighbors will hear from the developer and have the opportunity to ask questions or raise concerns.

Made up of apartments, the first phase would be accessed from Butler Bridge Road west of Yadkin Road. Later phases would add homes, townhomes and apartments gradually toward the west, with the last three phases going up close to the French Broad River.

The four phases would include 312 apartments, 361 townhomes and 70 single-family homes. The last five phases would be made up of 475 single-family homes, according to the plans. The property is zoned regional commercial but would need a conditional zoning permit because the developer proposes more than 100 units of multifamily housing, Henderson County planner Allen McNeill said.

The property is owned by the Johnston family, fourth generation dairy farmers. The family has had the property on the market for many years. In 2007, the family had a tentative deal with a Charlotte company to sell the land for a development that included a shopping mall anchored by a Bass Pro Shop, a branch of Western Carolina University and a medical clinic.

Mary Louise Johnston Corn, a School Board member, said Wednesday that terms of a sale contract bar her from talking about the transaction.

Sugg, an engineer with Civil Design Concepts in Asheville, said he could not elaborate on the project yet.

"We've got a neighborhood meeting coming up" where more details will be revealed, he said.

The developer, L.B. Jackson & Co., traces its roots to Ken Jackson's great-grandfather, who moved his family to Asheville from Georgia in 1914 and began building homes. His son, L.B. Jackson, built Asheville's first skyscraper, the Jackson building, in 1924, the company says on its website.

After earning a graduate degree in construction management degree from Clemson, Ken Jackson worked in the construction field in Washington, D.C., and later for Asheville-based Beverly Grant Construction. He started L.B. Jackson & Co. in 1985. The company has built a half dozen office buildings, several grocery anchored centers, strip centers, industrial parks, residential subdivisions and residential condo projects.