By DAVID BORAKS
Recent votes by the Davidson Town Board and Mecklenburg County Commission have tied up some legal loose ends that will allow Mecklenburg County to acquire the failed Abersham project, off Grey and Shearer roads, and also let the owners of the only home ever built in the failed project stay there.
Mecklenburg County is hoping to close its $3.7 million purchase next month. County Parks & Recreation officials say they plan to conserve the 243 acres for open space and a possible future park.
Abersham was originally proposed as a neighborhood of 59 $1 million-plus “custom estates” on big lots. But after the project failed, Community One and Fifth Third banks foreclosed on the property, and became its owners.
Earlier this year, the Trust for Public Land stepped in to help the town and county figure how to conserve the property. And in August, the county commission agreed to buy the site.
As the purchase of the failed project has proceeded, it has hit a legal hurdle: Only one home was ever built and sold in the development – a 6,000-square foot stucco-and-stone house owned by Rachel and Jason Karo. Their ownership of the home in the middle of the site created a legal logjam.
Thanks to a complex series of minor legal moves by the town and county, the situation now appears to be smoothed out. Here’s the deal:
First, the Karos asked the county for two easements – one on Greenwold Drive so they could access their home, and another for a 100-foot buffer on the northern side of Abersham Loop Road to prevent park activities close to their home. The county commission approved the easements on Sept. 7.
Meanwhile, because the county plans to use the site only for park land an open space, it wanted the former Abersham Master Plan terminated and all property lines and public streets removed from the site map. Davidson’s Town Board approved that change at its meeting Tuesday, Sept. 13.
But that action created another problem: In Davidson, all buildings are required to face a public street. With the streets in Abersham now legally erased, the Town Board also had to approve a second resolution exempting the Karos’ home from the street-fronting requirement. That passed 5-0.
The votes mean the Karos, who bought the house for $875,000 earlier this year, will be able to live “in this 200-plus acre park,” Mayor John Woods said after the vote.