Buying Mountain Property at Upper Elevations in Western North Carolina
Haywood County has… how many mountain peaks above 6,000 ft? If you Google any of various combinations of keywords in that question, you’ll find the answer to be as few as 13 and as many as 24. The point is not so much to reconcile the differences but to simply acknowledge that Haywood County, perhaps the most scenic and awe-inspiring county in Western North Carolina, is truly elevated; and that along with upper elevation living comes a host of variables which the wide-eyed home site buyer from the flatlands of Florida needs to consider. Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway in this area provides an ah-ha moment about what life can be like living in Western North Carolina.
Make no mistake, you want to live in places like Sunset Falls at Bald Creek. The views are breathtaking, the people are as friendly as ever and you’re still only 30-40 minutes from Asheville, should that be important to you. But you have to understand what elevation living entails so realistic expectations can be met in gated communities.
The average elevation in all of Haywood County is 3,600 feet above sea level. It is cooler at 3,600 feet (most of Asheville is around 2,200 feet) and with each additional foot of elevation, the cooler it gets. Most folks are enamored with the cooler weather (some are not) and many homes situated above 3,600 feet require no air conditioning at all, even in the depths of summer. That’s because it’s breezier as well, so simply opening the windows creates a pleasant draft of cool air and pleasant forest aromas along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Being cooler, it may snow more in the winter and the snow may stick around for longer periods of time. The view of blankets of snow covering the landscape is gorgeous but you also want to be able to safely drive your vehicle up and down the mountain. Gated community roads are private, so make sure that the Property Owner’s Association has a program and budget in place to clear the roads immediately after any significant snowstorm.
If you want to take advantage of the spectacular views that upper elevation living affords at gated communities like Sunset Falls at Bald Creek, you have to be willing to get there. It is always puzzling to hear the initial response from home site seekers when they reach the lots at the top of the mountain and proclaim “It takes too long to get up here!” Well yes, that’s because to get up here safely, the roads can only be so steep, so they have to safely traverse the mountain’s topography to get to the top. We think they initially envision the likes of a ski-lift whisking them directly to the top of the mountain, as the crow flies. Typically, the drive up the mountain is so serene and calming that most folks who love the mountains simply enjoy the ascent for its sheer beauty in their gated community. Take a peek at Sunset Falls at Bald Creek home styles.
There is a fairly good chance that the well that you will need to drill to access a potable water supply for your home will need to be deeper than those home sites that are situated at the lower portions of a rural mountain community. Wells cost about $10-$11 per lineal foot to drill, so just be aware that the potential to have to drill to greater depths for less significant flows is more likely to be the case as you ascend the height of the development.
There is also an increased chance that you may need to consume more of your land with your drain field area, which is the area needed (as part of your septic system) to properly handle the treatment of the wastewater from your home. This is because, over many thousands of years, the soils that exist above the rock layers on mountains are apt to have migrated, from gravity and erosive weather, to the lower elevations of the mountain, leaving fewer soils on the top of mountains. A thinner layer of soli in which to disperse effluent means that the area of the drain field may have to be larger and/or a more expensive septic system (known as an engineered drop-system) may have to be installed.
Finally, the issue of the probability of a thinner layer of topsoil at the higher elevations may result in more expensive foundation costs if solid rock is encountered at locations where the residence’s foundation system is designed to be constructed.
Notwithstanding all of the above issues, if you love the Blue Ridge Parkway, big views and the serenity of mountaintop living, you will view these potential drawbacks as a small price to pay for all that beauty in Western North Carolina gated communities like Sunset Falls at Bald Creek. This mountain community is a must see if long range layered mountain views are important to you. Write [email protected] or call us toll free at 866.384.1799 to arrange a visit.