Monday, November 21, 2005

"social capital" Economic capital" it's ECO! 

“social capital” …”economic capital”
ECO-VILLAGES in the Greater Asheville Area

ABOUT Eco-villages, co-housing, cluster housing, intentional communities …and what’s available in the Greater Asheville area....To begin, here is a small glossary.

Intentional Community (from www.ic.org)Intentional Community is an inclusive term for ecovillages, cohousing, residential land trusts, communes, student co-ops, urban housing cooperatives and other related projects and dreams... There is enormous diversity among intentional communities. Most communities share land or housing, but more importantly, their members share a common vision and work actively to carry out their common purpose.

Ecovillage (from www.gen.ecovillage.org)Ecovillages are urban or rural communities of people, who strive to integrate a supportive social environment with a low-impact way of life. To achieve this, they integrate various aspects of ecological design, permaculture, ecological building, green production, alternative energy, community building practices, and much more. Ecovillages are now being created intentionally, so people can once more live in communities that are connected to the Earth in a way that ensures the well-being of all life-forms into the indefinite future.

Cohousing (from www.cohousing.org)Cohousing is a form of collaborative housing that offers residents an old-fashioned sense of neighborhood. In cohousing, residents know their neighbors very well and there is a strong sense of community that is absent in contemporary cities and suburbs. Cohousing communities consist of private, fully-equipped dwellings and extensive common amenities including a common house and recreation areas. They are designed and managed by the residents who have chosen to live in a close-knit neighborhood that seeks a healthy blend of privacy and community.Cohousing communities are small-scale neighborhoods that provide a balance between personal privacy and living amidst people who know and care about each other. (from www.whdc.com/cohousinginfo.html)

If you are interested in eco-sensitive properties in the mountains and valleys around Asheville, please contact EcoREALTOR@www.janeAnne.com

Cluster Housing

Cluster Housing is a subdivision design where detached homes purposely are located in close proximity and all share common open space including recreation areas and parking.a note about CLUSTER HOUSING and the Use of Large Tracts of Land

(a letter from a friend)

I am so happy to hear that you are helping people find large tracts of land in the Asheville area and in Western North Carolina. We have been working with a real-estate person here on one project involving some land he has had on the market a long time. He wants to help us build greenways along crucial paths for the animals that migrate and need 1000's of acres in order to survive (I am not sure of his full motivation...time will tell). The wild cat alone needs 10,000 acres to live and yes we still have these big cats in the NW corner of the state.I would take a look at your town plan of conservation and development and see what the community vision is.Here we want to retain the "rural" character of the town. Yet, depending on the make up of the commissioners on the Planning and Zoning and Inland Wetland Commissions...retaining the rural character can be seen very differently.

It is very political. But the town plan and zoning regs direct the big picture. In our zoning if a developer would like to put in "cluster" housing....he/she must put 50% of the land into "conservation" (never to be developed and owned by the town or local trust.We have this written into our Plan of Conservation and Development but I believe it is being applied wrongly here. The developer is getting "cluster status" (in this deal they get to build 35% more homes and get a variance on the zoning for land size needed to build)...and the 50% of land going into conservation is all wet or underwater.The knoll in the middle of the vital wetland will be developed. I believe the cluster should be clustered on the upland. Instead they will cover the knoll with houses. The run off between impervious surface and lawn will eventually damage the wetland surrounding the development.

Unfortunately...unless the community can raise the $10-15,000 to hire experts to testify to this potential problem the developer can do this.It’s a long story.........anyway cluster housing...The idea is to not have large tracks of farm land (or forest) covered with zillions of houses. Instead you group the houses on smaller parcels and the people and animals can enjoy the open/wild space. Plus there is far less pollution from pesticides and artificial fertilizers, mowing on the good ol sit upon mowers....surface of roads and drives is reduced...etc.. I am just learning...it a big and important issue and very timely. ... the news around here often focuses on land use issues.


The Prospect Terrace town homes in the heart of Asheville are an example of a successful project showcasing energy-efficient homes all earmarked for low-income, first-time homebuyers with special loan financing to make them affordable. While you may have heard that only “Deep Pockets” can afford to build environmentally friendly, energy-efficient homes. The creative folks at Mountain Housing Opportunities are proving otherwise. Working in conjunction with Carolina Cornerstone Construction, Mathews Architecture and Civil Design Concepts, MHO is developing 17 houses and condominiums that will be certified under the North Carolina State Energy Office's newly developed N.C. HealthyBuilt Homes Program.

This innovative program encourages green building throughout all of North Carolina by certifying residential builders who utilize sustainable, environmentally sensitive building practices.

If such innovative building appeals to you, when you start your own building project, look for: energy-saving building components—higher-quality windows, longer-lasting roofs and finger-jointed lumber, solar water heaters, and talk with environmental consultants prior to starting your project. You will be right at home here in the Asheville area. We are noted for having a great passion for green building in Western North Carolina – where there is a passion for it! We know that many of our current construction practices are environmentally destructive and wasteful, and that we are clever enough to find other ways to build while increasing the value all the way around. In the short term, just the monthly savings in heating bills in homes with energy-saving features is a great start.

ANOTHER ASHEVILLE AREA CO-HOUSING DEVELOPMENT of interest to you may be the Planned Unit Development.

A Planned Unit Development is a form of development characterized by a unified site design for a number of housing units and nonresidential uses. PUDs usually include provisions for the clustering of buildings, promotion of common open space, mixture of building types and land uses. The PUD review process is more flexible than conventional zoning review, allowing for the calculation of densities over the entire development, rather than on an individual lot-by-lot basis. ( cfpub.epa.gov/sgpdb/glossary.cfm )

WESTWOOD, A PUD is on an urban edge softened by a small orchard and grove of trees in urban West Asheville. Nearby are schools, a city park, shops and services of all kinds, and public transportation. Downtown Asheville, the Farmers' Market and Pisgah National Forest are short drives away. Westwood includes 23 energy-efficient dwellings and the original farmhouse clustered around pedestrian commons and central common house.The common house is used for shared suppers, which are held twice a week, meetings and recreation. It has a playroom, lounge, laundry and guest rooms. Parking is kept at the perimeter. This leaves much of the land free for trees, gardens and play areas.

Westwood used Permaculture principles for the site design and early landscaping. Permaculture applies knowledge of natural ecosystems to design and maintain a harmonious integration of landscape and people. Westwood utilizes passive solar design, tight building envelopes for energy efficiency, centrally supplied hot water and radiant floor heating, landscaping for light and shade and multiple functions.Common facilities and some dwellings are wheelchair-accessible. Priorities include a wholesome environment for young people, efficient utilization of resources, and ample opportunities for members to learn skills that enhance community life.The community is organized as a Planned Unit Development (PUD), which allows for clustered buildings and preservation of commons green space. Our dwellings are townhouses; each unit is privately owned by a Westwood member. Residents are members of a Homeowners Association, which owns the common house and the common property and manages the community.


1) IF you request information from a developer, we at the 4TERRA TEAM will NOT be able to represent you or advise you on the property because you already will be on the developer's /seller's contact list...

2) AND!!! Sales folks who will contact you work for the SELLER, NOT for YOU. (The 4TERRA TEAM represents YOU and are looking out for your best interests)We have established a business relationship with most Private Communities and PUDs and can help you find just what you are looking for; let us know by contacting us at PUDs@www.janeAnne.com

Local Environmental Resources and Organizations
The Canary Coalition
The Citizen's Handbook of North Carolina's Environmental Information Sources
Clean Air Community Trust
The Dogwood Alliance
Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society
Environmental and Conservation Organization
Southern Appalachian Biodiversity Project
Southern Appalachian Forest Coalition
The Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy
Western North Carolina Alliance
Western North Carolina Group of the Sierra Club
Western North Carolina Regional Air Quality Agency
Wild WNC

Hiking, Biking and Paddling near Asheville
Asheville Ultimate Club
Blue Ridge Bicycle Club
Blue Ridge Parkway
Carolina Mountain Club
GORP Western North Carolina Page
Great Smokey Mountain National Park
Hiking in Western North Carolina
Mountain Biking in Western North Carolina
National Forests in North Carolina
North Carolina Outward Bound
North Carolina Professional Paddlesports Association
North Carolina State Parks
Southeastern Outdoor Recreation Magazine
Trails of Western North Carolina
Trails.com for North Carolina
Zen's WNC Nature Notebook

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