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County to hear Tap Root request July 16 at WHHS auditorium

The Henderson County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing on July 16 on a rezoning request to allow 699 homes on the Tap Root Dairy property on Butler Bridge Road.

The hearing, at 6 p.m. in the West Henderson High School auditorium, is the first in-person public hearing commissioners have permitted since a statewide emergency order on March 13 limited gatherings to 10 people.

The County Planning Board voted 6-2 on May 22 to support a rezoning request that would allow 699 homes and townhomes on the Tap Root dairy farm property.

Johnston family members, the fourth generation owners of the land, are seeking to rezone the property from regional commercial to conditional district, which allows the county Board of Commissioners to place conditions on the development. The development would cover 297 acres of a 320-acre tract, with 19 acres along Butler Bridge Road set aside for possible commercial development. At 699 units, the proposal is a little more than half the original request, which sought approval for 1,218 homes, townhomes and apartments. The new application eliminates apartments — which neighbors had opposed — and limits townhomes to 227 units.

Homeowners River Stone, which has 549 lots, and Hollabrook Farm, with 101 lots, have opposed the development, saying it would create traffic congestion and overcrowd Glen Marlow Elementary School. The Asheville Regional Airport Authority has urged the county to reject the rezoning on the grounds that a large subdivision under the runway approach is incompatible with the airport use. Airport officials also say they expect homeowners would sue the airport for noise, pollution and other disturbances that could occur.