(A public service brought to you by Bill Vernon & Featherstone)
Welcome to Macon County!
We welcome you as our neighbor and also want your experience in our community to be a pleasant one, with NO surprises.
As you shop around for land, you will find a wide variety of options and prices—close to town or further out, views or valleys, good access or poor access, high end or low end, etc.
The following is a "straight-up" discussion on the most serious issues you face.
As always… you usually get what you pay for.
Buying land in these mountains is unlike buying land anywhere else.
We have no zoning laws, you MUST be careful!
Whether you purchase from us or another, you need to educate yourself before making any decisions.
DRINKING WATER — You may find the prettiest, best land value in the county, but if you can't get drinking water, what good is it?
Consider what can happen if you purchase a small parcel in an area where YOU are responsible to drill your own well — at up to $12.00+ per foot and an average depth of 700' you'll have $8,400.00 just in drilling the hole — no pump yet!
It is VERY possible that you may have to drill two or even three holes in order to obtain a good, productive well.
We've had a total of five nonproductive holes at Featherstone, representing well over $50,000 down the drain prior to establishing our productive wells.
You could end up spending $12,000.00-$25,000.00 or more just in establishing the well hole!
Add another $3,000.00-$6,000.00 for the pump and other necessary equipment, and your attempt to secure drinking water could add another $18,000.00-$30,000.00 to the cost of developing your building site before you even begin thinking about building your house.
Even worse, suppose you purchased a small parcel as did all your neighbors. They are all ready to build and proceed to install their septic systems, wells, etc. There are state-mandated setbacks that could affect where you can place a well or septic system on your property because of the neighbor's placement of these items.
You MUST have knowledge and be careful so these issues do not come back to kick you in the head and wallet.
Some communities offer chlorinated city water. We prefer and offer natural, deep well, mountain water — nonchlorinated or fluoridated, etc
ALL parcels in Featherstone have access to deep well drinking water delivered right to the property line — usually right to your finished driveway.
SEPTIC SYSTEMS & PERMITS go hand in hand with the drinking water requirements because there are state-mandated distances between septic and well systems.
This fact has great importance when it comes to smaller parcels.
Did you know that if your neighbor was to install a septic system or drill a well lets say 15’ from his adjoining property line with you, this can have a profound effect on what you can now do with your land?
The Health Dept. will require that there be a 100' setback separating a septic system from a well.
Do you know what happens if you draw a 100' circle around a well?
You lose almost 1 acre of land that can not be used for a septic system!
Clearly, both septic systems and drinking water MUST be addressed together if you intend to build on the land that you purchase.
Your neighbor can definitely impact you and your options.
It is important that you address upfront if and where will you be able to install a septic system and where will you get your drinking water.
There are cases in Macon County where people owning a small parcel find that they can no longer get either a well or a septic system on their land, rendering it un-buildable!
ROADS — A poor road is an invitation to big trouble and reduced property values!
ROAD WIDTH: Many lesser traveled or private roads in Macon County are very narrow. A wide road is a safe road. If you can't easily pass another car due to width, poor construction, or bare spots, who will be the lucky one who gets to back up to let the other car by?
EMERGENCY VEHICLES: What about emergencies for fire or illness?
If you can't easily pass another vehicle or there are problem spots — what about a fire truck or ambulance? Don't "scrimp" here as this is a very serious issue!!!
ACCESSIBILITY - How will you access your land?
Will you control the access or will it be shared with others?
Is there an active, functioning, and operational road association of all those using the road?
Roads need constant maintenance here in the mountains as they are continuously settling mostly along the outside edge where utilities are often buried.
Is the road currently being maintained?
EASEMENTS: Always beware of a property whose access is via an easement through another person's land.
Make sure that you have a deeded right-of-way that is plenty wide enough and offers you a good deal of control.
Many mountain properties have compromised access and right-of-ways so be sure to have your attorney review all the access issues.
GRADE & STEEPNESS: Watch for very steep areas — especially those with gravel that remains badly and continuously disturbed for long distances.
Any steep grade where your tires spin continuously and easily probably needs to be paved, or you'll end up with ongoing, costly maintenance expenses.
GRAVEL: There is nothing wrong with a good, well-built, and well-maintained gravel road. However, gravel usually requires constant maintenance. Dust can also be an issue especially to those with certain health issues.
Roads in the mountains literally "eat gravel" over the first several years.
Their appetite for gravel then slows a bit as they become more stable over time.
Watch out for gravel roads with dirt or clay showing through. If you see thin gravel with a lot of dirt or clay showing through the gravel today, while it is for sale, what will it look like a year from now after another winter or heavy storms?
You need to ask the seller how this will be addressed before you get stuck with thousands of dollars in repairs and maintenance.Gravel will run you about $400.00 +/- per truckload not including the bulldozer if you will need to level it!
DRAINAGE AND CULVERTS
The best protection for a road comes when you can shed the water off easily and quickly.
Watch for LARGE heavily eroded "ruts" or standing water that seem to remain problematic or are not properly maintained.
A good road will also have plenty of culverts.
ROADS — SUMMARY>
As mentioned earlier, roads need constant maintenance here in the mountains as they are continuously settling.
Gravity and the elements work hard 24/7/365 trying to flatten out the mountains, which takes its toll on roads.
Repairs are common on all roads.
The key is to make sure the repairs are being addressed!
Once a road problem starts, it must be addressed quickly because they ALWAYS get worse!
FORECLOSURES? Cheap Land? Big Problems? — Just like homes, developments and communities everywhere have been hit hard by the weak economy.
A huge number of the developers and developments in WNC (Western North Carolina) have failed and or gone back to the bank.
The banks are unloading quickly as they have plenty of real estate on their books already.
Since the market crashed in 2008, most of the better lots have now been absorbed. It's usually the "cruddy" lots that remain unsold by the foreclosing banks.
Surely there are some good deals to be had, but you must ask yourself: "Who will maintain the roads, mowing, maintenance etc? Is there a functioning (POA) Property Owners Association to share in the costs? Will the bank honor the promises made by the developer such as covenants, utilities, paving etc? Will the bank elect to simply sell (dump) the rest of the unsold land off for "whatever" use it can or slash prices just to unload the property? "
Does it make sense to buy land at ten cents on the dollar when you may have to spend thousands yearly just to keep the roads maintained or the project fails or deteriorates only to find your area becomes blighted and property values fall further?
ALL of the remaining land in Featherstone is currently owned free and clear by the original developers, Bill & Cheryl Vernon.
All underground utilities, wells, etc, are installed and paid in full.
All of our roads have been paved with two lanes and WIDE!
Our POA / HOA is well-managed and actively running.
You will know exactly what you are getting. No surprises!
When you are making a large investment in land, a home or both remember:
"location — location — location"
and just as important…Think stability!
OTHER IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS:
DRIVEWAYS — Will you have a "fully completed" driveway, or do you have to build and or finish off your own?
You can figure on spending about $20.00-$25.00 per foot for a "quality" driveway like the ones we build and include in the price of each parcel (unless otherwise notated).
VIEWS — Has your view been opened up?
More importantly, do you have control of future tree growth?
Or, are you told what could be done?
You move here for a view.
We spend "big money" to assure your view is open and protected and you have control of the bulk of the trees that can seriously impact your view over time.
ELECTRIC SERVICE — Is electric readily available? Overhead or underground? We provide underground power.
You can get caught in a revenue guarantee with Duke Power if you are not careful.
Figure on $3.50–$4.00 per foot just to bury power.
SECURITY — Will your property be safe and secure?
We offer one way in and one way out and are currently working on installing a large gate at the entrance for additional security.
Inquire for details and updates.
PROTECTIVE COVENANTS — Macon County has no land use or zoning.
Unless you purchase enough land to protect yourself, you could end up with an undesirable neighbor.
Our restrictive covenants are realistic, reasonable, and designed to fully protect your investment without having to purchase a huge parcel of land.
REFERENCES: Available upon request from those who have purchased in communities we have built over the years. Reputation is everything!
AT BILL VERNON DEVELOPMENT, we address EVERY single issue! We have PAVED — D.O.T / State Road Maintained access
At Featherstone, we have WIDE, PAVED, two-Lane roads throughout the 180+ acre community.
We feel that "if you are gonna do it… DO IT RIGHT," so we address EVERY issue facing the prospective land buyer.
It is well worth the peace of mind knowing that you will not be blindsided with issues that you may never have thought of.
Believe me, there are many folks out there who now wish they had addressed the issues outlined above more seriously.
I have even had previous lookers at Featherstone purchase elsewhere then come back and tell me themselves that they now wish they had purchased in Featherstone!
Join us for carefree mountain living that truly is Simply The Best!!!
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