Confirmed: $225K is asking price for riverside parcels

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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From the Asheville Citizen-Times today:

Melody Roberson, with Bear Creek Realty who represents property owner Robert Burris Jr., said Burris was worried about potential liability caused by people using the land as a cut-through.

Roberson said Burris is asking $225,000 for two tracts. The two tracts are not connected.

“It’s a shame for the greenway not to all stay together. It’s such a great addition to Asheville,” Roberson said.

RiverLink Executive Director Karen Cragnolin said her organization has talked for years with the Burris family about getting the property. One idea was to name the site Burris Point to honor Burris’ father.

The asking price is simply too high, she said.

The city of Asheville has also been engaged in negotiations with the property owner over the last few years, according to Dawa Hitch, city spokeswoman. The city owns the land on either side of the 0.04-acre tract, according to property records.

The assessed value of that tract was $3,900 this year, according to Buncombe County records. Records show the land is the old Carrier Bridge site. The nearby 0.10-acre tract is valued at $14,400.

$225K is 1.6 million dollars per acre. The assessment at $18,300 for both parcels is $130,698 per acre.

Read the full article here: Chains block city greenway

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

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  1. Marcus September 6, 2012

    The North Carolina floodplain mapping website ( shows that the three private parcels are each roughly half in the floodway and half in the floodplain of the French Broad river. State law effectively prohibits construction of anything in the floodway, including the placement of fill material. State and local regulators will also likely deny approval to construct anything in the floodpain at this location. These parcels basically have no value as anything but public space. So, yes, a quarter mil seems exceptionally greedy.

    1. FDR September 6, 2012

      Depends on much you all love the park and want to see it complete. 250k is cheap if it completes the park and makes more people use it. There is liability if he lets people access it. People litigate slipping in stores all the time for a twisted ankle regardless if their obeseness made them fall.

      It would be like your neighbors kid using your pool without your permission and drowns. The neighbor would take you to court saying you did not have a fence or a fence tall enough to stop access to the pool.

  2. Luis September 4, 2012

    An individual’s intent to sell their property 5, 10 or 20 times the fair market value does not constitute an arbitrary raise in property tax value. If that were the case, everyone would be subject to an increase in tax valuation based on unrealistic real estate listings of comparable properties.

    Although what Burris is doing here is not in the public interest, he is still the property owner, and should be allowed to exercise his rights to forbid trespass. FDR is correct in mentioning Burris bears some liability in such a public space. For all we know, his asking price could very well just be a ploy to draw more attention to the matter and force the city’s hand in negotiation.

    I’m not a big fan of eminent domain, as it strips the property ownership rights of citizens. I’ve seen condemnation of structurally sound homes to allow commercial developers to expand mixed-use projects, or (fail to complete) a retention pond for highway rainwater runoff, or to pave the way for gentrification in an economically depressed neighborhood. Granted, this particular property is just a small parcel of vacant land, but one has to wonder why this wasn’t addressed when the greenways where being proposed and built.

    1. FDR September 5, 2012

      Exactly.. Thanks for being civil and intelligent.

    2. Nate September 5, 2012

      Actually, the response from RiverLink seems to indicate that people *have* been trying to buy these properties from Mr. Burris for years, i.e., since “when the greenways were being proposed and built.” The idea that either the city *or* a small non-profit could have just purchased these properties even earlier (i.e., before there was a greenway plan) with less fuss and expense is implausible, to say the least.

      Retaliatory raising of property taxes is admittedly a ridiculous suggestion, though, especially since it’s abundantly clear that no one else agrees with Burris that the properties are actually worth that much. Since when are property tax assessments are based on the owner’s subjective opinion on value . . . ?

  3. Jennifer Saylor September 4, 2012

    So, the property owner wants to sell the property for $225K, but pay taxes on the assessed value of 1/12 that much?

    How do property taxes work here? Can someone explain to me how property taxes work in this situation?

  4. Santa September 4, 2012

    Orulz is correct. Eminent domain is a fair application for completion of the park and the good of the community.

    Robert Burris, Jr has been paying taxes on this based on a fair property value so he must agree that value is reasonable compensation for the land.

    In the meantime, if he’s demanding the value be set at $225k, his tax rate ought to reflect that immediately.

    This land can not be developed based on where it is– squeezed in a floodplain between a road and the river. He is just being a jerk for the purpose of enjoying being a jerk.

    No toys for you, Sir. One lump of coal is reserved for Robert Burris, Jr.

  5. Annon September 4, 2012

    In running into him at the park, he said the city wrongfully and illegally upped his property taxes in an effort to squeeze him out, and that the amount of taxes he pays should be in proportion to the land value. So that if his taxes are as high as they are, this should reflect the value of the land.

  6. FDR September 4, 2012

    Pure greed? Hasn’t he owned the property long before it was a greenway. It would be pure greed if someone bought it from him after the green way was built and then held out for more money. I think he is lucky to have such a wanted piece of land. May the highest bidder win.

    My previous post:

    As usual everyone in Asheville wants everything for free, but that’s not reasonable when injury claims are at stake. Yes, the very same people that use the cut through for free are the same folk that will sue when a tree falls on them, or their little Johnny falls out of a tree they shouldn’t have been climbing in the first place. Not everyone is a good responsible person so the land owner is having to idiot proof it for you. Just like auto manufacturers having to put airbags in cars for people that don’t wear their seat belt. Same thing either way you slice it. Hopefully the city will step up and buy the land like they should.

    I used a park like this for many years in another town and after about ten years the park service started charging $3 for parking. Worth every penny for the convenience. They had to charge because of the upkeep from litter bugs, there again idiot proofing. You would go up to a box, get a envelope and put three dollars in it. Then tear off the numbered tab and put the envelope in the lock box, and the number on your dash. No number on dash matching the envelope in lock box a ticket would be placed on your car for $15+. Some times in this world you just have to idiot proof things to move on. Yes, I hear you saying , I won’t use that park, but there is a thousand behind you that will.

  7. Doug Sahm September 4, 2012

    If it wasn’t for the Greenway, no one would have any interest in the property in the first place. The fact that ANYONE has shown interest in buying that worthless piece of land is a gift from God for this guy. He is allowed to do whatever he wants with it, but let’s face it; he is taking advantage of the situation the city in and acting like a little brat.
    Again, he has a right to be unreasonable and the informed public has a right to think this guy is a jerk.”.

  8. Dylan F September 4, 2012

    Nothing but greed involved with this guy. What a scum bag.

  9. ronfrankl September 4, 2012

    I’m no expert on the subject, but perhaps the city should consider acquiring the land through an eminent domain proceeding.

  10. Trent September 4, 2012

    It’s not like the landowner is forcing anyone to buy the property. I city has two choices, to buy or not buy. What if someone were to ask you to sell your property (land, home, vehicle) for tax value, would you automatically be inclined to sale just because the city says it’s worth a given amount. I would be happy to buy both parcels for $13,800 today and then just wait for a higher offer to roll in and make a huge profit when someone steps up to buy it. I support Mr. Burris 100%.

    1. orulz September 4, 2012

      The city has another option – eminent domain. This is meant specifically so people can’t greedily make a killing through extortion, by camping out on land in the way of a vital public project. BTW, supreme court precedent has long established that parks are vital public projects and worthy of the use of condemnation.

      To apply reductio ad absurdum to this situation: Imagine an interstate highway corridor where ALL of the land has been acquired except for a 1-foot wide strip exactly the width of the corridor owned by some Schmuck. His parcel, totaling about 200 square feet, is valued at $200 in tax records, but this schmuck figures that it would cost the highway department $10 million to build around him. So he therefore sets his price at $9,999,999.99.

      This doesn’t work because the government can say “Condemn! Take a hike, Schmuck, this is a vital public project and your greed won’t stand in the way. Here’s $400, which is still more than the value you’ve been paying taxes on. Now we own your land.”

  11. Smiley September 4, 2012

    Pure Greed – That parcel is too small to ever be developed for anything, so no one outside of a municipality will ever purchase it. Burris is just trying to jack the City for as much $$$ as possible.

  12. TC September 4, 2012

    So $225k is what he thinks the land is worth. OK, let him pay taxes on that value for a few years, and then let’s see what he thinks of that price.


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