Saturday, July 31, 2004

YOU Can Create a Land Legacy 

YOU can create a Land Legacy, a Preserve, possibly named for you, a gift from you and your family and to North Carolina’s unique and to be treasured mountain lands.

In order to enjoy the financial benefits that accompany this transaction, your Preserve must qualify as an outstanding natural area. In North Carolina, we define “natural areas” as, “ areas of land and water, or both land and water, whether publicly or privately owned, that retains or has reestablished its natural character, provides habitat for rare or endangered species of plants or animals, or has biotic, geological, scenic, or paleontological features of scientific or educational value..”

But what is an “OUTSTANDING natural area”, and what is entailed in creating a Land Legacy, a Preserve? In order to answer these questions, you will need to gather information. That's where North Carolina's Nature Preserves Act comes in.


Almost twenty years ago, the continued population growth and land development in North Carolina prompted the enactment of North Carolina’s Nature Preserves Act (http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/wq/LandPreservationNotebook/statutes/nc/naturepreservesact.pdf )in which is written: “areas of natural significance be identified and preserved before they are destroyed.”

The Act declares: “Natural areas are irreplaceable as laboratories for scientific research, as reservoirs of natural materials for uses that may not now be known, as habitats for plant and animal species and biotic communities, as living museums where people may observe natural biotic and environmental systems and the interdependence of all forms of life, and as reminders of the vital dependence of the health of the human community on the health of the other natural communities.” The North Carolina Nature Preserves Act hinges on the idea that it is “important to the people of North Carolina that they retain the opportunity to maintain contact with these natural communities and environmental systems of the earth and to benefit from the scientific, aesthetic, cultural, and spiritual values they possess.”

Almost two decades have passed since North Carolina’s legislators established by rule the criteria for selection, registration, and dedication of natural areas and nature preserves. Acting on our behalf, the lawmakers created and maintain a State Registry of voluntarily protected natural areas called the North Carolina Registry of Natural Heritage Areas. (Find definitions for these areas here: http://www.ils.unc.edu/parkproject/resource/scorp/c.pdf )

In addition, North Carolina, has established a Natural Heritage Program (see http://www.ils.unc.edu/parkproject/nhp/ ) to provide assistance in the selection and nomination for registration or dedication of natural areas. This program includes classification of natural heritage resources, an inventory of their locations, and a data bank for that information.


Nature preserves may be acquired by gift, grant, or purchase, and they have provisions relating to management, use, development, transfer, and public access. Nature preserves may be dedicated by voluntary act of the owner. The owner of a qualified natural area also may transfer fee simple title or other interest in land to the State and enjoy certain fiscal benefits as a result. As we mentioned above, if you are interested in creating a Land Legacy, your Preserve must qualify as an outstanding natural area.

The lands must be “…irreplaceable as laboratories for scientific research, as reservoirs of natural materials for uses that may not now be known, as habitats for plant and animal species and biotic communities, as living museums where people may observe natural biotic and environmental systems and the interdependence of all forms of life, and as reminders of the vital dependence of the health of the human community on the health of the other natural communities.” But how does one find such a treasure?


Many times each year we greet people who intend to search for, find and set aside a land treasure in our Western North Carolina Appalachians. This might be real property with an incredible waterfall, or high country with an expansive Alpine meadow, or a private estate with equestrian trails adjacent to one of our National Forests. It makes sense that such effort can have not only aesthetic but financial rewards.

(Land Trust financial benefits: please contact LandTrustREALTOR @www.janeAnne.com)

But how does one FIND that treasure?

The variety and majesty of western North Carolina landscapes has always attracted people to our area. Today, however, locating large acreage tracts for sale in North Carolina can be challenging

Remember, in the State of North Carolina, we have dedicated more than a million acres to the National Forests Pisgah and Nantahala. State parks and forests also hold thousands of acres. So large tracts of land in Western North Carolina are rare, and this especially is true in the Greater Asheville area.

To assist you in scouting for YOUR treasure,

find a Real Estate professional who knows the land.

Most real estate professionals are residential specialists. The land specialist is an uncommon breed… someone who, with eyes closed, can tell you where s/he is by the “atmosphere” of the land.** This is the kind of person who will be able to understand your own preferences.

**This is really not that hard to do, but it takes being mindful of the land. Try it yourself: Let your imagination carry you to the windy slopes of a horse farm with steep pastures at 3,000 feet. Now travel to another horse farm down in the Sandy Mush valley, where the scent of heather is in the air on a summer morning.

Connect with someone who is aware that land in these mountains may very well NOT be listed in our MLS system. Treasures are not likely to be advertised on the Internet, either. Most often we Real Estate professionals hear about land treasures by word-of-mouth as we talk with our colleagues and neighbors. Awe-inspiring land tracts are still available IF you know how to find them…and we do!

Please contact EcoREALTOR @www.janeAnne.com to connect with a professional who not only has knowledge of our geographic region, its coves and hollers, ridges and mountain tops, but actually likes to explore back roads and go “the extra mile” with you, including putting you in touch with resources for making your dreams a reality.

Please do choose to be a part of a growing number of folks who are building Land Legacies for the future.


The Nature Conservancy (http://nature.org/), founded in 1951, is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of land, water and plant and animal life through scientific practices that achieve tangible results. Their stated mission is to preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive. By partnering with communities, businesses and individuals, they steward millions of acres around the world.

The Nature Conservancy offers various programs to this end. You can make a gift to The Nature Conservancy which has a flexible and simple way to combine philanthropy with financial planning. And enjoy favorable financial and/or tax benefits.

See http://nature.org/joinanddonate/giftandlegacy/

The Nature Conservancy’s "Conservation Buyer" Program, is another pragmatic approach that recognizes the interests of property buyers, sellers, realtors, conservationists, and the community. By working together, land trusts and conservation buyers can protect and put into Preserves thousands of acres of land across the nation that are beyond the means of conservation organizations to purchase alone. How does it work?

Conservation organizations are increasingly turning to conservation buyers for assistance with land protection efforts in certain areas or on certain types of projects. Conservation buyers are individuals who buy a property that is subject to a permanent and legally binding conservation restriction or who will impose a conservation restriction as part of their purchase.

A conservation restriction – also known as a CONSERVATION EASEMENT
http://ohioline.osu.edu/cd-fact/1261.html ) limits certain uses of a property, such as the right to subdivide and develop.

****IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO NOTE: Because use of this land is permanently restricted, land subject to a conservation restriction is generally appraised at a lower value than comparable unrestricted parcels and donation of such a conservation restriction can constitute a charitable gift and reap tremendous financial rewards for you.

A conservation restriction can be held by either a public or qualified private nonprofit organization.A conservation restriction being imposed by the buyer at time of purchase can be customized to the needs of both the buyer and the land. If no home exists on the property, a restriction can usually be structured to allow some construction under strict guidelines that protect the property’s natural assets. What are the advantages of the conservation buyer program?

The property remains in private ownership and on the local tax rolls. The restrictions stay with the property, even if it is sold or transferred, and therefore limit the use of the property permanently. These restrictions are binding in perpetuity, and designed for a distinct conservation purpose. Many communities reduce property tax assessments on land with a conservation restriction in place, because the site's potential to be further developed has been reduced or eliminated. A final advantage is limited housing development and sprawl, which cost communities more than they contribute in tax revenues.


The North Carolina Chapter of The Nature Conservancy has protected more than 100 beautiful sites across the state. Most of the sites, while full of natural charm, also have adequate public access but are situated such that public exploration will not endanger fragile natural communities.

One of the sites within hours of Asheville is MOUNT MITCHELL. When you come to explore our area of the country, this is ONE place you will not want to miss! The State of North Carolina established its first state park at Mount Mitchell in 1915 to protect the area's virgin Fraser fir from timbering. The North Carolina Chapter purchased 84 acres of additional land for Mount Mitchell State Park in 1997.At 6,684 feet above sea level, Mount Mitchell is the highest peak in the eastern United States and contains an extensive area of spruce-fir forest, one of the country's rarest ecosystems.

Spruce-fir forest is abundant in a large region of northern North America, but south of New England the forest type is only found in a narrow band in the Appalachian Mountains. This natural community is characterized by evergreens, particularly red spruce and Fraser fir, and harbors many species that are closely related to species in the spruce-fir forests of New England.In North Carolina, spruce-fir forest occurs at elevations above 5,500 feet where cool temperatures and high moisture are prevalent conditions. The forests are remnants from the last ice age some 18,000 years ago and have become refuges for species that cannot tolerate warmer, drier conditions. This forest type is declining due to the negative effects of air pollution, in particular, acid rain.


There are so many amazing real properties that qualify as “outstanding natural areas”. YOU can take part in funding and founding nature preserves by investing in such a property. The owner of a qualified natural area even may transfer fee simple title or other interest in land to the State. Nature preserves may be acquired by gift, grant, or purchase.

Please contact EcoREALTOR@ www.janeAnne.com to begin the process of creating of your Land Legacy.

Sunday, July 18, 2004


Environmental Studies Professor at UNC-Asheville Speaks on  Protecting Our Watershed
Asheville should follow other responsible communities and protectwatershed from  logging  By DEE EGGERS,  SPECIAL TO CITIZEN-TIMES July 14, 2004 6:24 p.m. 
Some people agree with the old idea that "a standing tree is a wasted tree." In  truth, a standing tree is a working tree, especially in a watershed.
Some on City Council see dollar signs when they think of logging in our watershed. What they might not see is the tremendous value of leaving those trees standing.  There are several economic and scientific reasons why leaving the trees in our watershed standing is a better idea than logging. Preserving the forest while generating revenue from the sale of logging rights to a conservation trust is a far better possibility.On Tuesday, Asheville City Council will consider a draft management planthat is  a thinly disguised rationale for logging in the watershed.
There are many  problems with logging in a watershed. First, logging can cause problemswith water supply. When we most need reliable water is during a drought. Haveyou  ever wondered why rivers keep running even when it has not rained forweeks?  They are fed by water seeping in from the ground along their banks. Thesame is  true in a reservoir. Our source of water during a drought is rainwater that fell  weeks or months ago, hit vegetation, splashed into smaller droplets, fellto the  ground as a heavy mist, soaked down in to the soil (getting a high-qualityand  free cleaning in the process) and then flowed slowly through the ground and  finally into the reservoir.
In logged areas, most of the rainwater runs off  quickly, resulting in less groundwater flowing into the reservoir duringdrought  - and therefore less water available for use. This is called "decreasing safe  yield" and it is one of the worst things that can happen to a public water supply.
It means, as a community grows, it will need to tap another water supply and build another multimillion dollar water treatment plant sooner than it would  have had it protected the safe yield. Those standing trees are saving us money  every day.The plan also includes a scary fire scenario that seems like it was written for  a bad action movie, perhaps "The Fire That Ate Southern Appalachia."
According  to a forestry expert I contacted, the scenario is exceedingly unlikely. Ironically, the fire scenario could be used as a reason NOT to log. Miscanthus, a problem exotic invasive, sun-loving, readily-burning grass, flourishes in the  watershed. It should absolutely be controlled and removed. If the area were  logged and if the areas around roads were cleared (logged) as proposed, itwould  increase the rate at which this flammable grass spreads, increasing the fire  hazard. Also concerning is the implication that logging would benefit biodiversity. It is theoretically possible to minimally log in the watershed with negligible  environmental impact and even increase biodiversity. But just because something  works in theory does not mean it is economically feasible.
The more "environmentally sensitive" the logging technique, the more expensive it is and  therefore, the lower the profit. City Council is interested in this as a financial opportunity, not because they have suddenly embraced environmental stewardship. The bottom line: There is not likely to be a win-win solution that  combines profitable logging with responsible protection of our water resource  and the ecosystem. This proposal reads like a piece advocating logging - listing many interpretations of the benefits but not adequately addressing problemscaused by  logging. Although the proposal has many good scientific points regarding problems in the watershed, the science does not support logging as a  solution to those problems. A pristine watershed should be the last place a government considers logging for  profit.
It is like tearing down a cathedral to sell the stones for whatever the market pays for stone - and completely failing to see the value of the cathedral.
What would be best in this instance is for the City Council to  increase protection of our watershed by placing it all under permanent legal  protection for the longest and best use of our water resource. Fortunately, there is an excellent alternative to logging.
Asheville can sell  the logging rights to a conservation trust, which would then "retire"them,  permanently protecting them from being logged.
This would generate significant  revenue while protecting our water. Canton has already done this; Montreatand  Woodfin are in the process. Local environmental groups are providing City Council information on this option and identifying available funds.
If this  alternative appeals to you, let the members of City Council know. At the core of this complex issue is one simple fact: logging ourwatershed as a  way out of a fiscal tight spot is a bad idea. Trees don't vote, but people drinking the water do. I know our City Council is a group of capablepeople who  can find other, sensible solutions to our temporary problems. 
Dee Eggers, Ph.D, is an assistant professor in the Environmental Studies Department at UNC-Asheville. She lives in Asheville. 

Who Represents YOU in a Real Estate Transaction? 

It is important that YOU are represented professionally in a Real Estate transaction. Take time to interview a number of REALTORS. (See my article on Interviewing Realtors in the archives.) Then select your favorite. You will can get better service if you select just one REALTOR for two (2) main reasons:  

1. If you tour homes or land with another real estate practitioner, but later find  someone you prefer to work with in the sale of  real property, you will NOT be able to work with your favorite, because the first practitioner is entitled to take your preferred realtor’s commission!
2. And if you are working with multiple practitioners, it becomes almost an impossible task to sort out which properties you have viewed with which REALTOR, in order to avoid showing you the same listings.
An economic reality comes into play here.  Only ONE representative for you  is going to get paid when you make your choice of land and/or home. That is why REALTORS simply cannot afford to offer their professional services and time in the "hopes" of getting paid. They need to go forward with a contract for their services. This need not be some mysterious hard-to-understand document! In fact, I like to tailor a representation agreement with which you are comfortable. When you select me to represent you, you will know for sure what period of time, and what general territory, or neighborhoods we will explore together. It's good to be “on the same page.”

Remember that the homes you see on the Internet or with other practitioners are NOT the only ones on the market. Many properties are sold through professional networking and word of mouth before ever having a chance to appear in the MLS. My friends in the industry and I keep an eye out for particular properties. We know who might be open to selling. So if you are really serious about finding property, you need get your REALTOR under contract to YOU. Otherwise, a practitioner has little incentive, and surely will tell his or her contracted clients know about such properties first.

 We all appreciate working with those who enjoy us and want to work with us.  I ask buyers if they are working with other real estate professionals. Maybe they have someone they like to work with, maybe not, but it is important for me to know that.
If you are my client, you have the right to be told about every property I can find that meets your parameters, including foreclosures and homes for sale by owners. If, on the other hand, you choose to work with multiple practitioners, those practitioners are under NO obligation to show you anything other than what they want you to see. That means that you actually could  see or hear about fewer properties than if you are working with just one professional.
I am happy to show you the mountain homes and land you choose to see. I DO like to work within the parameters that make sense for both of us. It is my policy to focus attention on clients under contract with me who have been preapproved for a loan if they are not 1031 Like-Kind Exchange or Cash clients.
If you are feeling reluctant to sign a contract because you just don't like contracts, I can understand that. Request a consultation with me. This includes education about various locations in the Greater Asheville area and showing a limited number of properties. By then, you will have a better idea of whether I am the practitioner for you, and vice versa.  (I'm smiling)
To learn more about the whole subject of representation, please follow this link to the informative brochure, WORKING WITH REAL ESTATE AGENTS IN NORTH CAROLINA.
This is a consumer protection law in our state and explains the ins-and-outs of client representation.  
Please also see this link:
AND if you would like to let me know about your dream home, go to the Design Your Dream Survey located here:

 I look forward to working with you and welcoming you HOME to the Greater Asheville area!

Thursday, July 08, 2004

FAMILY DESTINATIONS in the Greater Asheville Area 

Get the Whole Gang Together
Western North Carolina is THE Place for Families!

Nestled at elevations of up to a mile-high in the heart of the Appalachians, numerous Resort, Club, and Year-round residential mountain villages like a Private Community and Country Club on a mountaintop in Yancey County, offer splendid views of nearby mountain ranges. Lush green valleys paint a welcoming scene for you and your family, so bring the whole gang. You can still "walk lightly" on the land. Mountain communities like Little Pine Preserve, Wolf Laurel Resort, and other Private Communities, all within a short drive of Asheville, are known for their eco-sensitive planning.

These master-planned communites pay close attention to preserving the natural mountain environment. Developers and architects have arranged accommodations and amenities carefully amongst rhododendron, mountain laurel, and towering pines. And clay tennis courts and golf links gently place themselves within the landscape, as do neighborhood parks and nature trails.

Because habitat loss is the primary cause for the global decline in biodiversity, taking special care of rare species' habitats is the foundation of recovery. Of course "green Realtors", like me, understand this and are working to preserve our natural communities. If you would like a JPEG of the natural communities at Little Pine Preserve near Marshall, N.C.in Madison County, please contact me from my web site.)

North Carolina’s high country equals a downhill run to family fun. In the summer, cool breezes and cookouts abound. You might even find a waterfall to picnic near. In the winter, you can complete a wonderful day og snow tubing and/or skiing on our slopes with a family gathering by the fire.

Our family likes to hike together. Long before those “young” Rockies were born, something earthshaking happened in North Carolina: two continents collided, sending titanic plates of rock surging up into the sky. Millions of years later, after nature’s own carving and pruning, a hiker's paradise was born. When the glaciers finally receded from these mountains they left behind innumerable varieties of trees and flowers…And so today, our family enjoys trekking our way up to peaks,finding lavender and flame azaleas along the path.

What is YOUR dream?

. A rustic mountain villa or log home?
• A private retreat on acres of pristine land?
• A welcoming family destination?
• A small,family horse farm or large equine property?
• An eco-sensitive mountain community where the living is simple?
• A natural area with a waterfall you can preserve for posterity?
• A Blue Ridge Mountain get-away, second or vacation home?
• Carefree living in a planned community on a challenging golf course?

• Maybe you would like to restore an historic home in the city of Asheville.
• Or maybe you want to create a Bed and Breakfast (B&B) business.

Let Me Know.

You can contact me through the contact link just to your left.

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