Today’s batch of burning questions, my smart-aleck answers and the real deal:
Question: What is happening at the old French Broad River Campground at 1030 Old Marshall Highway? It appears that most if not all the structures have been torn down, and now the property has chain link fence up along Old Marshall Highway, with Beverly-Grant signage on the fence and a large Beverly-Grant construction sign.
My answer: Fingers crossed for a hotel/taco-truck-brew-pub!
Real answer: How could I have overlooked glamping? You know, glamorous camping.
“This is AutoCamp, which is nearing completion of their permitting package,” Buncombe County Planning Director Nathan Pennington said via email. “It is an existing RV park that is being renovated and converted into a luxury RV park facility.”
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As Pennington noted, “AutoCamp has facilities across the U.S. in other cities and towns near national parks, forests and other natural points of interest.”
So, we definitely seem to fit their bill.
I reached out to AutoCamp, but a public relations person said, “We don’t have any information to share at this time, but should that change we will be in touch.”
AutoCamp has an interesting business model, referring to itself as, “An outdoor boutique hotel experience.” This is from the company website:
“AutoCamp offers overnight lodging and accommodations in modern Airstream suites and luxurious tents at our locations in Cape Cod, Yosemite National Park, the Russian River Valley, Joshua Tree, and coming soon to New York’s Hudson Valley. AutoCamp brings high-end, boutique-style amenities, mid-century modern design, and welcoming hospitality to some of the world’s most beautiful natural places.”
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AutoCamp does not provide spaces for guests to bring their own trailers or tents, according to the website.
From Buncombe County land records, it looks like this 12.46 acre site along the French Broad River changed hands in May 2021. AC Asheville LLC, which has a Santa Barbara, California, address, is listed as the property owner.
The sellers were listed as William L. Sanderson III, Glenda W. Sanderson and William L. Sanderson. The transfer information shows a sale price of $1,775,000.
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The site previously was, as the reader indicated, the French Broad River Campground. Property records show it had a main building erected in 1995, with two barns dating to 1970 and several cabins to 1950.
A May 2021 Facebook post from Bill and Glenda Sanderson, on the French Broad River Campground page, offers an explanation of what’s happened. Titled, “Retirement Announcement,” the post notes the Sandersons were exiting the business.
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“It is with a great sense of excitement and some sadness that we announce our retirement from running the French Broad River Campground,” the Sandersons said. “After 27 years of being here for guests to enjoy the river, we are now hitching up our own RV to travel and explore. We have sold the campground. After some renovations, the new owners will reopen.”
The Sandersons expressed their sincere gratitude for all of their “regular campers who have returned year after year to our campground. You have become a part of our extended family, and we will miss seeing you as you set up camp.”
I left messages with Beverly-Grant and with a contact for the property’s ownership corporation but didn’t hear back by deadline.
To the Sandersons, happy trails!
Question: As you drive down I-26 east, just past the new rest area, there’s a large pile of dirt that’s been smoothed out. At first I thought it was temporary, but now some grading has been done and possibly even some pavement added. What is going on with this giant dirt pyramid?
My answer: It’s about time the area got an Egyptian-themed brewpub!
Real answer: Mike Patton, the NCDOT’s resident engineer for I-26 Widening, solved the mystery — and it’s not real exciting.
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“This location is surplus NCDOT property,” Patton said via email. “So, NCDOT is currently utilizing the area to place excess dirt from the I-26 Widening project instead of locating and paying for another fill location. We have followed all applicable environmental regulations. At the conclusion of the project, we will plant trees and allow native grasses and shrubs to grow naturally.”
Answer Man: In I-26 work zone, is the speed limit enforced? Hendersonville High trailers?
As far as some of it looking vaguely like a road, well, it used to be.
“As a ‘waste area’ that means old asphalt and concrete (is stored there) as well,” Patton said. “It all has to be buried at least two feet deep.”
This is the opinion of John Boyle. To submit a question, contact him at 232-5847 or [email protected].