Ecological Restoration Plan for Hominy Creek Greenway

Much of the Hominy Creek Greenway property’s vegetative community is dominated by non-native invasive species (NNIS). Species such as multiflora rose, Chinese privet, Japanese knotweed, English ivy and many others have outcompeted native species, taking over much of the herbaceous and shrub layers and threatening native tree health via climbing vines. A vegetative community dominated by NNIS greatly reduces ecological value and threatens the abundance and diversity of native pollinators and wildlife.

In an effort to combat the Greenway’s NNIS problem and begin restoring a native plant community, the Friends of Hominy Creek Greenway (FOHCG) Board of Trustees is working with EcoForesters (EF), a local non-profit professional forestry organization, to chemically treat NNIS on a large scale. While FOHCG board members and volunteers have worked for years to keep NNIS at bay, hand-pulling and cutting can only go so far in addressing such a large-scale issue. By incorporating chemical treatment via foliar spray, cut stump, and other techniques, FOHCG and EF can effectively treat vast portions of the greenway that would not be feasible or have such lasting results otherwise.

The current focal area of the Greenway for native reforestation is at the Sand Hill Road end of the trail – both the trailside portions leading from the trailhead to just past the picnic tables and the portion on the other side of Buttermilk Creek. These areas were bush hogged in late summer of 2023 and chemically treated by EF and FOHCG in early September. Additional treatment may take place prior to the dormant season of late October. The next step is to replant the treated areas with native vegetation. Native trees, shrubs, and herbaceous species will be planted in the fall of 2023 and/or the spring of 2024. Expertise on topics such as species selection, planting density, and follow-up management will be provided by community volunteer members with professional background in native plant composition and care. Plants will be sourced from Greenworks and other local nurseries and growers.

As the project progresses, the aim to is to also address Buttermilk Creek. In its current state, the creek is extremely downcut and the stream banks are severely eroded and even undercut in certain locations. These conditions contribute to sedimentation in downstream waters (Hominy Creek and the French Broad River), a detriment to water quality, and result in unstable and treacherous stream-side terrain. To address these issues, FOHCG will work with EF to treat NNIS growing in and adjacent to the stream and with Wildlands Engineering to regrade the stream banks to restore a level of stability to the system by reducing erosive forces of high velocity flows. Once NNIS and stream bank grading have occurred, native riparian vegetation will be planted to increase bank stability, reduce erosion during high flow events, and improve the overall stream and stream-side habitat quality.

By restoring native vegetation and improving stream habitat and water quality, native pollinators and other wildlife species will benefit. Monarch butterflies, migratory birds, rare freshwater mussels, imperiled bats, and many other taxa inhabit the greater areas of the Greenway, Hominy Creek, and the French Broad River downstream. With the ever-increasing threats to wildlife from habitat loss and degradation, opportunities to restore habitat play an important role in ensuring that species have access to the resources needed for supporting their life stages.

FOHCG is excited to be embarking on these ecological restoration efforts – a chance to greatly improve the biological integrity to a beloved area for the benefit of community members and native flora and fauna alike. The support of partners, donors, and volunteer members makes this undertaking possible!

Trail Restoration and Reforestation Projects

If you’re a regular user of the Hominy Creek Greenway, you’ve probably noticed the removal of shrubs and ground cover at both trailheads. One of the FOHCG’s strategic priorities is to ensure that the parkland is ecologically sustainable. We’ve partnered with Asheville based EcoForesters to manage exotic plants and replace them with native trees and shrubs. In July, City of Asheville park employees dedicated several days to remove invasive plants from the landscape. Over the course of decades, invasive plants have spread throughout the parkland. Oriental bittersweet, Chinese privet, tree-of-heaven, Japanese honeysuckle, and many others. The populations of nonnative plants have harmful impacts on the landscape such as displacing native plant populations.

The clearing is also the first phase of a project  to redesign, improve, and reroute 500 feet of the Hominy Creek Greenway to create a sustainable pathway that more effectively manages stormwater. We hope the improvement will make the Greenway more accessible too. The plan involves raising the natural surface pathway at the Sand Hill Road trailhead, creating swales and cross-drainage to capture, store and redirect stormwater in order to reduce erosion, and improve the trail user experience. Depending on weather conditions, we hope to begin the project this fall.

This project is in partnership with the Malvern Hills Neighborhood Association. We are also grateful for financial support from our members; Connect Buncombe, the City of Asheville, Wildlands Engineering, the West Asheville Garden Stroll, Buncombe County, the Bicycle Thrift Store, Asheville on Bikes, and Asheville GreenWorks.

Bear Creek Development Statement of Trustees

The Friends of Hominy Creek Greenway Board of Trustees share the communities’ anguish regarding the Bear Creek development adjacent to the Hominy Creek Greenway in West Asheville. The loss of tree cover; the impact on the riparian buffer and water quality; increased traffic; the harm to the landscape, wildlife habitat and viewshed; the loss of tranquility; are among a few of the prevailing concerns.

The Trustees understand the need for additional housing, but we also endorse the urgency of protecting green space as development accelerates in our community. We look forward to the opportunity to engage with citizens, developers, and local government to ensure the stream and the Hominy Creek Greenway are protected.

The Board of Trustees reaffirm our commitment to protecting Asheville’s endangered green and blue assets for all to enjoy. We are eager to continue to serve as a competent and vigorous voice for thoughtful development that prioritizes the stewardship of current and future public green spaces.

Please join us if you wish to serve as a champion of the Hominy Creek Greenway and Asheville’s endangered green spaces.

Download full Press Release Statement >

Crossroads development application WITHDRAWN

Exciting news regarding the Crossroads development. The developers have withdrawn the proposal.

We’ll keep the community updated on future plans for the site. There is speculation that the developers will resubmit another proposal in the future.

Stay tuned.

Here is the latest story from the Asheville Citizen-Times regarding the proposal:

Crossroads development: decision postponed

The Buncombe County Board of Adjustments postponed a decision on the Crossroads development until the January meeting. After 7.5 hours of testimony, additional time was needed.

See the Asheville Citizen-Times coverage of the marathon meeting:

Maybe the fourth time will be the charm?

After a marathon seven-and-a-half-hour meeting on Dec. 11, mostly on the proposed 802-unit Crossroads at West Asheville apartment complex, the Board of Adjustment agreed to continue the quasi-judicial hearing on the proposal to January.

The meeting convened at noon but the official hearing didn’t start until almost 1 p.m. By 7:30 p.m., the board had heard from a slew of experts and nearby residents offering sworn testimony, as well as detailed questioning by both sides’ lawyers. When it became clear the hearing — not to mention public comment and board deliberations — would continue for several more hours, Chairman Martin Moore suggested postponement.

“Even if we’re going at this pace, there’s a good chance we’re going to be here until 1 o’clock in the morning,” Moore said.

Board Member George Lycan said the proposal, which also calls for 14,400 square feet of retail space, 50,400 square feet of office space and 64,000 square feet of self-storage, is “the biggest project we’ve ever had in this county.

“It’s very complex — it’s upwards of half a billion dollars,” Lycan said. “It’s just too important to rush this and run into heavy fatigue and work until we’re all worn out, and not do it properly for both sides of this issue.”

So, the Board of Adjustment, which has the final say on the project, will hold a special session at 9 a.m. Jan. 23.

The proposal has been controversial, with neighbors and residents of nearby Malvern Hills saying it’s just too large, will drastically increase traffic and could have negative environmental impacts, including harm to Hominy Creek.

At the hearing, developers said they are addressing water runoff concerns with retention ponds and by building a mile of public greenway through the project. Also, siting the 20 buildings away from the creek and leaving 42% of the property undisturbed will reduce the environmental impact, they said.

The 68-acre property, bordered by South Bear Creek and Sand Hill roads and Interstate 240, lies just outside the Asheville city limits. Buncombe County has it zoned “public service,” which allows for apartments. But that is a conditional use that requires board approval.

Read the full article HERE.

Community Open House – Crossroads project

On December 2 the developers hosted a community open house for the proposed Crossroads at West Asheville project.

You can read an article about that meeting in the Asheville Citizen-Times. The headline is “Crossroads plan gains little favor with neighbors”.

From the article:

A proposed major development remains a tough sell to nearby residents, many of whom are opposed to the project’s size and scope, even after hearing about its backstory and some plan changes.

At a Dec. 2 community meeting — the second on the Crossroads at West Asheville proposal — developers remained firm that they’ll build 802 apartment units…

The proposal will return  to the Buncombe County Board of Adjustment — for a third and supposedly final time — on Dec. 11. The appointed board will hold a quasi-judicial hearing on the project and likely make a final decision then…

On Dec. 2, about three dozen local residents attended the community meeting at Crossroads Asheville church. While a few expressed ambivalence about the project, many made it clear they’re still not happy with the its scale and potential impacts on traffic and the nearby Hominy Creek.

Developers listened and exchanged viewpoints with neighbors, but they remained committed to that 802-unit figure, which opponents say makes it the largest apartment development in Western North Carolina.

You can also read a letter to “whom it may concern” regarding the project from the developer.

CatCap Crossroads info 12-2-19

Community Open House Dec 2, 4 – 6 pm

The developers of Crossroads will be hosting a public information open house to discuss the project.

The meeting will be help Monday, December 22 from 4 – 6 pm on the Crossroads property.

From a letter dated November 22:

On behalf of Catalyst Capital Partners, this letter serves as a notification that there will be a second voluntary informational community open house meeting to discuss the proposed project at 20 South Bear Creek Rd. This letter has been sent to all property owners within 1,000 feet of the subject property.
The informal open house is scheduled for Monday, December 2nd from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. The meeting will be located on-site at the property and include a short walking tour of the property. We suggest parking at the Crossroads Church at 20 S. Bear Creek, Asheville, NC 28806 and then walking to the Meeting Location (covered pavilion) as outlined on the map below. After a short walking tour (and the sun sets), Room 109 at the Crossroads Church will be made available for further discussions.


Copies of the proposed project area and designs will be on display. Members of the development and design teams will be present to answer questions regarding the proposed development.


A map of the property is below with site of the pavillion.

Asheville Citizen-Times reporting on Crossroads permit delay

A clip from the story:

Sometimes it takes nearly three hours to hit the pause button.

On Nov. 13, the Buncombe County Board of Adjustment took two hours and 45 minutes to unanimously vote to postpone until Dec. 11 a hearing on a controversial apartment complex, Crossroads at West Asheville. An overflow crowd of about 125 people attended the meeting in the Buncombe County Administration building — with another 100 watching online in another room — as well as a slew of experts, engineers and county staffers.

While the development company, Catalyst Capital Partners of Charlotte, opposed the continuance, the board postponed the hearing because the plans for the 802-unit complex have changed. Neighbors opposed to the project need more time to consult with expert witnesses and to receive final numbers on traffic impacts.

The developer is seeking a conditional use permit for the site, planned for 68 acres on South Bear Creek Road near the Malvern Hills neighborhood in West Asheville. Plans call for 802 total living units, mostly apartments, as well as 14,400 square feet of retail space, 50,400 square feet of office space and 64,000 square feet of self-storage.

Bob Oast and Lou Bissette, attorneys for the development company, argued that holding the hearing Nov. 13 was indeed a matter of fairness, in this case to their client. Bissette contended the changes actually lessened the impact of the development, noting that the developer started working on the project about a year ago.

“They met with well over 50 different groups; they met continuously with the DOT and the county,” Bissette said. “During that time, my clients were going out of their way to take public input from neighbors, the DOT, from the city.”

At this point, he was interrupted by jeers from the crowd, with one man shouting, “Tell the truth!” Some in attendance contended they were never notified of a public meeting with the developer.

For the entire story visit the AC-T website at this LINK.

Decision on Crossroads development delayed

Reporting from WLOS on November 13, 2019

Representatives for a massive mixed-used development proposed for West Asheville will have to wait until December to find out if they’ll be given a conditional use permit by the Buncombe County Board of Adjustment.

Residents packed the conference room in the building to listen in or speak up. So many people showed up, some were forced to go upstairs and watch a live stream.

Attorneys representing residents, Malvern Hills Neighborhood Association and the city of Asheville argued the development would cause special damages to their properties nearby, including the Hominy Creek Greenway. Those damages include flooding, erosion, degradation of water quality and traffic impacts, among others. After the board unanimously agreed the attorneys claims did have legal standing, the attorney representing the residents asked for a continuance.

The board ultimately agreed the residents and community needed additional time to review the changes and their potential impacts. The proposed development will be reviewed for its conditional use permit on Dec. 11 in the conference room at 200 College St. New notices will be sent to residents within 1,000 feet of the site, and information will be posted to the Buncombe County website.

Below is a link to their coverage. FOHCG board of trustees president Bryan Tomes is interviewed in the piece:

FOHCG Changes Position, Opposes Crossroads Development

The Board of Trustees of the Friends of Hominy Creek Greenway, Inc. has changed its position regarding the Crossroads at West Asheville development. The board’s new position opposes the current plan to develop the Crossroads at West Asheville development due to its negative impact on Hominy Creek and the Hominy Creek Greenway. 

The original position of the board of trustees did not oppose the project, but expressed concerns regarding various elements of the design and its impact.

Following meetings and correspondence with the developers, FOHCG, Inc. president said the board of trustees altered its stance from concern about the project to opposing the current design.

“There has been no movement by the developers to consider a larger assessment of what a sustainable and progressive residential development might look like on the banks of Hominy Creek. It’s become increasingly clear that the developers perceive the limits of their development is appropriately defined by Buncombe County regulations,” said Tomes. “From a beauty, traffic, and environmental stewardship perspective the regional regulations do not meet a standard to be considered an appropriate baseline for a development with the scope and impact on the surrounding community.”

Our statement regarding the Crossroads at West Asheville development

The Friends of Hominy Creek Greenway opposes the current plan to develop the Crossroads at West Asheville development due to its negative impact on Hominy Creek and the Hominy Creek Greenway.

We have multiple concerns with the size and scope of the development:

  • The overall size and scope of the development will have an impact on the viewshed due to the placement and height of the structures.
  • The development is on a unique parcel of land within the Hominy Creek watershed and will impact the water quality due to run off from parking lots and construction.
  • An increase in traffic flow in the surrounding neighborhood will impact public safety among pedestrians who use the Hominy Creek Greenway.

The Friends of Hominy Creek Greenway seek the opportunity to work with the developer, the State of North Carolina, Buncombe County, and the City of Asheville to implement the following:

  • That the developer repair the eroding stream bank on their property and create a substantial buffer of 50 feet or more consisting of deep-rooted woody plants along Hominy Creek to protect it from runoff and bank erosion; and to mitigate thermal and other water quality impacts from the 40 acres of new impervious surface proposed
  • That the developer examine how the size and placement of structures and parking lots will impact the viewshed of users of the Hominy Creek Greenway and adapt their plans to minimize and mitigate the impact on the viewshed.
  • That the developer use low-impact construction practices and building techniques to capture and filter stormwater runoff to minimize the impact on Hominy Creek, and to compliment the proposed ponds with additional and more effective water quality treatment.
  • That Buncombe County require the developer build a section of greenway with adequate bicycle and pedestrian facilities to connect with existing greenways and pedestrian infrastructure.
  • That the developer, Buncombe County and the City of Asheville add and improve pedestrian infrastructure associated with the existing greenway and establish safe bicycle and pedestrian connectivity between the existing and proposed trails. 
  • That the State of North Carolina consider improvements to I-240/I-26 access ramps and an additional access ramp at Bear Creek Road and I-240/I-26 to minimize traffic flow onto side streets in the surrounding community. 

Please contact FOHCG Inc. president Bryan Tomes for comment.

CONTACT: Bryan Tomes, 828-772-5542 or