If you’ve taken a walk this week along the Carrier Park trail by the river as it goes under the bridge, you might have gotten an unpleasant surprise: “Private Property: No Trespassing” signs and a makeshift fence barring anyone from walking further down the trail.

The fence is easy to walk around, but the message is clear.

Signs are posted in three areas: At the top of the steep trail leading down from Amboy Road, and in two places on the dirt trail along the river near the bridge. One kind of sign reads “City property ends here.” Another reads “Private property: No trespassing,” and shares the name and number of a real estate agent.

There’s now no way to take a walk by the river and go under the bridge along the trail without trespassing on what is now clearly and emphatically marked as private property.

Unconfirmed reports from a source I trust are that owner Robert “Bobby” Burris has rejected an offer from the City of Asheville to purchase the land.

UPDATED: New graphic below from loyal reader zen Sutherland.

From zen (click to see full size):

…it would appear that as of the date of currency, Mr. Burris (and Ms. Noland Cauble) are the property owners of the impediment to a clear greenway. It could be that Mr. Burris has purchased the property from Ms. Cauble, but i’m not sure.

Burris owns a .04-acre strip of land between the road and the river, near the bridge. There’s no way to walk down the riverside trail–popular with walkers, runners and dog owners of West Asheville–without passing over Burris’ private property.

Ashvegas is working on this story. Anyone have details?



  1. Pingback: City buys riverside property to help link French Broad River Park, Carrier Park

  2. “Maybe he let people use his path because he had no reason not to. And now, in order to maintain his ownership rights, he has to show that he is presiding over private property so that it can’t be taken by adverse possession.” Yes, that, and he does have a liability risk.

    The comments are interesting. I’m old and liberal and I’m startled by the aggressive attitude of most of the commenters. I guess private property is o.k. as long as it’s not property that someone finds it convenient to use.

  3. Yay! Let’s all pretend to be real property lawyers and throw terms around we don’t really know what they mean! Wheeeee!

  4. Why in the hell doesn’t the city or county come out with a statement outlining the history of these sites and what action is being taken to come to a reasonable solution? If they have then they need to re-release it so the citizens can get the whole story. If they haven’t then they need to get off their asses and do it. They owe us that much, after all we elected them.

  5. I’d have a lot more respect for Annon’s comments if they were actually using their name and freely stated their relationship to Mr. Burris.

    If you’re going to say something, say it. Don’t hide behind the veil of the internet.

  6. I agree that we should not publicly bash his character without knowing the back story. That being said, if I am correct, he was willing to let people use the path for years… so why be so anal about it now? Simply stated – he DOES want to be a pain, he is asking for way more than it’s worth because he thinks he has the city over the barrel. Why can’t he be a good citizen and donate his land? He gets to write it off on his taxes as a loss and be done with it or just sell it to the city. Why all the drama, seriously?

    • Maybe he let people use his path because he had no reason not to. And now, in order to maintain his ownership rights, he has to show that he is presiding over private property so that it can’t be taken by adverse possession. Either way, let’s hear from the guy before we make any assumptions at all. It’s not fair. It’s mean. It’s also not the Asheville way.

      • It’s not an issue of adverse possession. His ownership rights are not at stake. The issue is, the property value is diminished if he allows people to trespass. What would you pay for a piece of land in order to cross it if you’re already allowed to cross it? He might consider an easement sale or lease with the city. He retains ownership, gets a chunk of change and the city can celebrate it as a victory.

      • It’s not “adverse possession” if he wasn’t adverse to people trespassing all these years. Please check a legal dictionary before you throw the terms around.

  7. No, stopping people from crossing a piece of land that has no other possible use IS a character flaw.

    • So if you had land that was worth something, and you were asked to give it up or otherwise be considered someone with a character flaw, would that really be a fair judgement? What if the land meant something to you emotionally? Or if you waited for years to sell the land, knowing it was appreciating in value, and that you might be able to better provide for a sick family member – to just end up a public pariah for what was rightfully yours to gain from? What if his plans were to sell it for a profit, and donate a certain amount to a charity that meant a lot to you bc you were personally connected to the charity’s cause? We have absolutely no idea what the full story is here, but assassinating someone’s character publicly without knowing the whole story – that is a character flaw. I have no connection to this man. I’m not his friend. I don’t know the back story. But I give him the benefit of the doubt until I hear otherwise.

      • Yes, it is worth something. But what is it worth? Strategically? A lot. Actually? Not that much. There may be some asking him to give it away and I wouldn’t condone that unless he’s feeling generous or perhaps wants a tax writeoff. The language of the “chain” sign is definitely that of someone seeking conflict, not “looking for the most value out of my property so I can donate it to the Sierra Club, or pay off my surgery bills”. So something is up and he should explain it. Why? Well this isn’t 20 acres in the middle of nowhere where for some reason people just show up and trespass all the time. It is subject to the same type of casual trespass that exists around waterways, public facilities, large commercial entities, etc. The signs in those places usually say “No loitering”, “this area closed due to insurance purposes”, “parking by permit only”. The laws for trespassing in NC are actually pretty lenient. You have to ask people to leave, you call the law and prosecute if they don’t, and you can shoot them if they are physically threatening your life. So, we’ll get the gate before long. And that means…something? why doesn’t he do this with the nearby and much larger parcels?

  8. This is a very interesting situation. Here’s the question. Why does this guy have a moral obligation to sell the land? I am not saying whether he does or does not. But why?

    He owns property here and has for a long time. He didn’t purchase a .04 acre parcel, he sold most of a larger parcel and maintained the frontage to the bridge. If he wants to ask 10 times the actual value of his land, that is a strategic decision. It isn’t a character flaw. Whether he wants the money so he can buy a coal mine or pay for his sick granny is irrelevant – he does have the legal right to do what he is doing and this cheerleading for imminent domain, etc against a citizen owning property and going for the best deal possible is very concerning. It sets a precedent and such advocacy goes against the progressive values of this community.

    If he indeed were asking for a million dollars, then he would be a problem. But he is not. He is a yes, potentially rude jerk – though we don’t know that – who is trying to get the best out of what he has. Its cute to condemn, but dangerous to advocate for his exploitation whilst devaluing him as a citizen to be afforded the same rights the rest of us are afforded.

    If this were a privately owned park and a corporation were pushing to connect the greenway so it could profit, the same people would be rallying in his support.

  9. We are talking about a citizen here in Asheville. How can these commenters post such mean-spirited comments? He might be living next-door to you. He has a right to dignity and to receive fair compensation for the land he rightfully owns.

    First of all, this man is not looking for a million dollars. He was offered $10,000 for land that clearly appreciated over the course of the 60 years he has owned it. Apparently, the city purposely raised his taxes to wipe him out of ownership, and yet the value of the land at the tax rate they have assessed is FAR below its value.

    Second of all, is the city looking out only for it’s big business (namely, New Belgium) when it offers them a deal, and not the people that have helped this community grow?

    Whatever the situation, I feel badly for someone who should not be ridiculed, but rather, considered a neighbor and a human being. I hope he does not read these comments, and he is spared of embarrassment.

    • What does your friend intend to do with this piece of property, which is essentially worthless to a private citizen? What was his intention in buying that little strip of land?
      If he is not using the small sliver of land, why not just let me people walk through it? Why does he feel the need to post angry signs?
      Also, the greenway plan has been a goal of the county long before New Belgium ever showed interest in the area.

  10. I mean, Jim – Michael was that child actor turned porn star..

  11. Seems like Mr. Burris needs to have a conversation with Michael Anthony, the Cliffs developer who tried some thing similar with DuPont Forest. It didn’t end well for Mr. Anthony, and I will go out on a limb here to say; he has a heck of a lot more pull than Mr. Burris.

  12. The reason he rejected the city’s offer is because he wants over a million for the sliver of land. He knows that it is essential to connect the parks and now he is playing the game.

    • Mr Burris better be careful with Fences. The average dog owner is good with chains, but there are some of us with trucks that would rip down his *%#$&@! fence.

    • I’m all for the rights of land owners to do with their property as they wish with no interference from the government (other than ecological destruction) but this guy has to realize that if he plays hardball, the city can (and probably will) use imminent domain to acquire the land at less than they originally offered. $1M is pretty steep for 0.5 acres for this guy and an additional .14 for the other landowner.

  13. David Bruce says:

    Why doesn’t River Link jump in and purchase the property? They tout themselves as the “Greenway” builders for the area. Pony up, drop some of the cash you made at your summer concert series and help the community instead of throwing another party.

  14. What a tool. I hope they find a way to take it.

  15. Bobby Burris seems like a pretty miserable guy.

  16. Let’s all chant together, “imminent domain,” “imminent domain,” “imminent domain.”

  17. This property is clearly unfit for development of any kind other than a greenway. It is in a flood plain, wedged between the road and the river. The jerk should just admit it was a horrible idea to purchase it, sell it for what he paid and move on. Why be a jerk just for jerkin’ sake?

  18. Umm, Asshat much?

  19. Get off my lawn.

  20. Watch it, Mr. Burris – The city has a way of getting what it wants, especially with the new need of a greenway expected by the New Belgium group.

    Jason/Jennifer – I have emailed you an updated map – hope the email addresses were up to date!


  21. Wow. This guy sounds like a royal pain.

  22. I have no other info except what is provided on the Buncombe County GIS website. The property is 0.04 acres and is indeed owned by Robert Burris. It appears that there are two other privately owned parcels along the path going toward Carrier Park and away from the Amboy Road Bridge. One of the other parcels is also owned by Robert Burris and is 0.1 acre and a third parcel is privately owned and is 0.14 acres.

    There has been a For Sale sign there for a couple of months. Strange that he did not accept the City’s offer.

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