A group of Big Canoe property owners are negotiating to purchase more than 700 acres of land in an effort to ensure the property will not be developed in a matter that could change the neighborhood's character.
According to a statement released Jan. 20, Big Canoe's property owners association announced an agreement to purchase 730 acres inside the gated community from Big Canoe Company.
The agreement includes 51 parcels of land, several of which are designated for high density or commercial development. There are also 350-acres of high elevation greenspace.
Sandi Smalley, association president, said development of the land has potential to drastically change the Big Canoe residents know and love.
"With this purchase, the property owners will control their own destiny and ensure the future of their community," she said. "The natural beauty and green space that first attracted property owners to buy in Big Canoe will, with this purchase, now be preserved for future generations."
Association directors signed a $9.4 million purchase-sale agreement Jan. 12, though property owners must approve the purchase by majority vote.
Ballots are expected to go out to all property owners next week.
Big Canoe Company is currently owned by developer Bill Byrne, who began advertising his search for an investment partner to expand the residential mountain resort nearly two years ago.
The primary focus, Byrne said in January 2014, was to develop a mixed-use center with multi-family senior living, that included traditional mountain estate lots in the highlands and "dense residential" in the lower-lying areas.
Smalley said high density housing, including multi-family units, has property owners concerned.
"The board's primary interest is to ensure the character of Big Canoe now and for the future," she said.