Waynesville Golf Club housing development stymied again

A map of the Waynesville Inn and Golf Club’s recently  renovated course shows two areas, off the 10th and 12th  fairways where developers want to build 25 new homes. Raines Company photo A map of the Waynesville Inn and Golf Club’s recently renovated course shows two areas, off the 10th and 12th fairways where developers want to build 25 new homes. Raines Company photo

Amid complaints from neighbors, the new owners of the Waynesville Inn and Golf Club once again saw their proposed 12-unit Longview development shot down after Town Council found it to be inconsistent with several aspects of the town’s land management plan. 

Earlier this year, Raines Company sought approval for residential development on two tracts adjacent to the historic 165-acre golf club site — 13 custom-built homes on 11 acres off Greenview Drive and 12 units on 3.5 acres off Longview Drive.

On March 18, the Waynesville Planning Board recommended approval of a zoning map amendment for the Greenview project by a vote of 6 to 1. A week later, Council concurred unanimously with the planning board.

The planning board, however, rejected the proposed Longview development at that same meeting.

Raines came back to the town with a new request on May 14. During that public hearing, parties on both sides of the issue spoke, including a number of homeowners who live near the proposed development. Their major concerns included what attorney Clint Cogburn, representing homeowners, called an atypical number of variance requests.

Chief among them for some neighbors were the lot width, setback and civic space variances, which together could present a greater density than neighbors want to see.

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Town Attorney Martha Bradley then offered to meet with Raines and town staff to find a compromise, so the town closed the public hearing and put off a vote until the May 28 meeting.

When that meeting commenced, nine people spoke during the public comment session, including Cogburn, Raines Company Managing Partner Grey Raines and several homeowners who’d previously opposed the variances.

Supporters included a bevy of heavy hitters from the community, including Patrick McDowell, former longtime planning board chair. McDowell noted that other potential uses of the tract would likely be less desirable to homeowners and would require far less effort to gain approval from Council.

“What this is, is about what is allowed in the area [and] what could be allowed in the area,” he said. “I truly believe this is the best use of the area described because additional options are available to the Raines Corporation and not every resident that is nearby understands that. You, as people who understand the zoning in the area, understand what additional options are available for Raines Corporation and could be presented before the board and would need to be approved if they were presented because they meet regulations associated with the Town of Waynesville.”

Matt Haines, vice president of operations for Premier Magnesia, known locally as Giles Chemical, also spoke in favor of the development, saying that the prosperity of WIGC lends itself to the longer-term stability of the town and that denying the request could impact future investments in the town.

“Historically, our corporate visitors and business associates have stayed and been entertained in Asheville because Waynesville lacked sufficient higher-end traditional hotel accommodations,” Haines said. “Waynesville Inn and Golf Club offered us the opportunity for business guests from all over the country to stay in Waynesville, which can potentially lead to positive impacts well beyond simple food and accommodation sales of the visit.”

Council wasn’t swayed by the testimonials, despite the number of variance requests being whittled down from nine to three, and voted unanimously against the conditional district map amendment.

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