Thread: Tennessee
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Old 11-06-2008, 03:54 AM   #27
Avalon Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 7
Default Re: Tennessee

We are trying to create a community just north of Ashville NC.

We are looking for community minded people who are interested in
investing in our fusion project. Please send me a private e-mail if you are interested. Here is a little information on our group and a potential property.



I hope you had a terrific weekend! We sure did! A group of us went to Madison County and checked out the land that's being auctioned this was amazing! It would be wonderful if we were able to secure this property, but first... a few details for you....

First and foremost, most of the information below is still being finalized. We are working on finding the best way to fund this land purchase, make sure that the organization/project is financially stable, and insure that folks are getting well-thanked for their generosity and participation in this adventure.

Second, we are happy to work with everyone interested on an individual basis. A sliding scale is definitely available...just give us a call or drop us an e-mail and we'll chat about our options.

So now a little about the land... it's beautiful!! The most important element is the water security.... this land has a healthy and abundant water supply. There is so much water, even now in the drought. We spoke with one of the folks who lived and worked on the land in the early to mid 1990s, when it was a functioning farm and community, and he said they always had more than enough to irrigate the crops and sustain the needs of the community.

There is lots of infrastructure already on the property. Here's a partial list: a passive solar dorm-style apartment with 4 adjacent passive solar greenhouses, two partially finished but almost usable multi-story houses with basements, 1 partially finished but unusable house (we can salvage materials and rebuild on the foundation), a 3-bay garage with adjoining office space, a 1/4 acre greenhouse, a pond, a reservoir with gravity fed water (under ground) to the terraced fields, roughly 7 acres of terraced fields, an orchard with apples, cherries, several types of raspberries, kiwi, and more, 2 or 3 log-cabin-looking trailers, 1 almost-livable chalet with a living roof and indoor composting toilet, a 'welcome center' that can serve as a store to sell items produced on the property, which also has several other rooms that can serve as classroom space or whatever, it's extremely accessible to I-26, yet it feels incredibly remote, there are two entrances (1 public and 1 private) to the land, and I'm sure I'm forgetting something..... there is roughly 20-30 acres of cleared agricultural land, with more that can be developed and neighboring land that can be leased. So that's it for the 'stuff.' There is damage from vandalism over the years, but almost everything is repairable after clean-up.

The land is beautiful! The area with the greenhouse, passive solar structures, and terraced fields is mostly flat/slightly rolling. It then heads up the mountain from there into an amazing forest (huge poplars - 3 people to reach around a tree), up to the ridge, and over the other side to a big creek - Puncheon Fork Creek - and the 'welcome center.' There is lots of room for folks to set up home sites. Oh.. did I mention that it's 270 acres? Lots of land to work with!

Plus, the surrounding community is fantastic and loves the idea of YEP moving in! We realize our proximity to the Wolf Laurel ski area, however, the irresponsible development in this area is on the far side of the ski resort. The National Forest access is through the ski area, not through the ugly and obnoxious gated communities. Laurel Valley watch, a group of local concerned citizens (who love YEP) say that Wolf Laurel is actually fairly environmentally conscious and that they're great neighbors.

We've been discussing things like donations, memberships, annual assessments, etc. We want to be clear from the beginning that this is not a 'sound financial investment' if you're looking for a dollar-for-dollar return. However, you are making a sound investment in securing community, water security, and preserved land for the seventh generation.

Here's a little about community investment - you'll get a group of folks with an incredible wealth of knowledge to share with and learn from, take classes from and work with teachers of a large variety of sustainable living skills, stable supplies of water and power, control over safer and more nutritious food sources, participation in the designing and construction of your home, workspace, & community, opportunities for cottage industries that emerge from innovation, less participation in a money-based economy, psychological and spiritual benefits associated with living along slower and more natural rhythms, a physically beautiful place to dwell, more input and participation in community networks, and helping to educate others about living closer and with more respect/reverence to the earth. It is not an even dollar-for-dollar's priceless!

Here's what's been developed from the financial perspective, but like I said at the beginning, things are subject to change. We want to hear from you!

Member benefits are offered through YEP and the benefits will be applicable to the programs we host. They may not apply to the programs hosted by some of the neighboring enterprises (ie the herb school, the ag center, etc).
Membership Levels (we're still working on the names :-): (for folks not living in the community, but wanting to support our endeavor, and also get benefits and price reductions for participating in activities at the Yonah Preserve); membership fees are 100% tax-deductible; membership need to be renewed annually
Earth - $100 - pay reduced member rates for programs
Fire - $250 - pay reduced member rates for programs; your family can attend 1 day-program per year for free
Water - $500 - pay reduced member rates for programs; your family can attend 1 day-program per year for free; 1/2 price CSA membership (if you're in another state, we'll find another benefit for you to replace the CSA membership)
Air - $1000 - pay reduced member rates for programs; your family can attend 1 day-program per year for free; free CSA membership (if you're in another state, we'll find another benefit for you to replace the CSA membership)

As additional infrastructure is built (including facilities for over-night stays), additional benefits will be added to the membership levels.


Donor Levels: donations are 100% tax-deductible; initially these will be used to purchase the land; once the land is secured, 100% of the funds raised through donations will be used to modify/rebuild the existing structures and build new infrastructure; again, we're working on the names :-)
Winter - $100,000 and above
Spring - $50,000 to $99,999
Summer - $20,000 to $49,999
Fall - $10,000 to $19,999 (If you are unable to pay $10,000, please contact us. We can work out a cash/sweat equity agreement, or a payment plan, or anything else we can come up with to make this accessible to everyone, regardless of their financial situation.)

To own a home site in YEP, you must be a donor. More info about owning a site below...

These fees are not final. They will be determined by the council once the land is secured. These numbers will give you an idea of how the fees will be structured, but they're definitely not written in stone.
Annual Assessments (for folks who own home-sites within the community): these assessments will cover expenses including property insurance (insurance for the programs and classes will be paid by Educational Excursions), road, water, and infrastructure maintenance, property taxes (potentially reduced through conservation easements), and any other expenses directly related to maintaining the 'common areas' of YEP
Winter - $100 per year (includes an 'Air' membership)
Spring - $200 per year (includes 'Water' membership)
Summer - $300 per year (includes a 'Fire' membership)
Fall - $400 per year (includes an 'Earth' membership)

So how do you buy a home site? We'll have 4 options: 1/4 acre, 1/2 acre, 3/4 acre, and 1 acre
Think about the mission and the values of this community as you decide the suitable amount of space you and your family will need. Less private land means more space for community endeavors.
And how much will a home site cost? Well, we won't really know that until we buy the land. But here's the general idea... if we are able to purchase the auction land for $1000 per acre (I'm just throwing out a random number that's easy to work with), then a 1/4 acre lot will cost $250, a 1/2 acre lot will cost $500, I think you get the idea.... These details won't be finalized until the land is purchased. It's possible that the cost of a site will be increased or reduced, depending if it's flat or sloped, or has any other features that may affect it's value. We'll know more once a land-use plan has been drafted.

Fair market value is based on what we pay for the land, not what it's appraised at. And 100% of the funds generated through land sales will be reinvested in building community infrastructure.

Home site fees are not tax-deductible. So if you want to be a 'Winter' donor and get a 1/2 acre site, you'll need to give $100,500. Again, home site prices are not finalized... we'll only know them after we purchase the land. You will hold the title to your home site. If you choose to sell your site, there will be an application process for potential buyers.

If you're interested in making a loan or offering some other financial assistance so we can acquire this land, please call me so we can chat. There are many options available...

Here are some of the ways that YEP will be financially stable:
income from programs and events (potential permanent site for Earthskills Rendezvous!!!!)
income from home-site sales
grants for specific projects
assessment fees from home-site owners
tax benefits from conservation easement
sales from the 'store'
the possibilities are endless....

The costs associated with maintaining YEP will be minimal. The way it's designed and structured reflects the core values and philosophies around quality planning and sustainable practices. The only major expenses will be property taxes, insurance, and the costs incurred while cleaning up and rebuilding the existing infrastructure. Efficiency and independence from our current economic systems is a primary goal.

If for some bizarre reason we don't win the auction, your donation can be returned to you. Or it can be applied to another property purchase, if that's your preference.

We will continue to revise the minutia of YEP; right now, the main focus is to SAVE THIS LAND! Please contact us if you have any questions.

I am attaching the Letter of Intent. If you are able to contribute now towards this land auction, please return the letter ASAP by e-mail or fax (call first so I can connect the fax machine).

If you are unable to donate funds at the moment but will be able to do so in the future, please complete the letter and include a date when you may be able to send your contribution. We will need to negotiate a closing date for the purchase, so your letter will help set the time-frame. Also, please return it to me ASAP.

If you want to come to the land auction in Madison County on Wednesday, let me know and I'll give you directions. The more the merrier!

On behalf of the core group who has been working so hard for the past 6 months on developing this project, I thank you for reading all of this. I know it is a lot of information....

Help us save this land! It will be a wonderful and amazing home for YEP and all of us!
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