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PICKENS, SC — A tract of land near Glassy Mountain Heritage Trust Preserve in Pickens County that was once slated for a controversial real estate development has been permanently protected by a conservation easement.
Upstate Forever was instrumental in working with the community and the owners of the proposed development site to realize a conservation outcome for this important tract of land at the base of Glassy Mountain, a Pickens County icon. The tract in question is critical to preserving the natural heritage of the area.
"I'm very relieved that the land will not be developed, and I’m glad this is a win-win for everyone," said Shelly Smith, one of the neighboring landowners who filed an appeal against the proposed development in conjunction with Upstate Forever. "If Upstate Forever had not worked with the community to oppose this inappropriate subdivision proposal, the Glassy Mountain area's rural character would have been permanently changed. I am grateful for their support in protecting this special place."
The Atlantic Coast Conservancy recorded the conservation easement on the property on Thursday, December 14, 2017. The easement stipulates that there can be no development or subdivisions built on the property, although it does allow timber management/harvest of a portion that is a pine plantation, back to oak hickory. Many conservation easements continue to allow for traditional land uses such as farming and timbering. Included in the easement is 5.7 acres for a “Reserved Homesite.”
“Without being privy to the conservation map attached to the easement, we are cautiously optimistic that the easement is solid. We are thankful that the property owners decided on a conservation solution for this iconic and environmentally critical property,” said Andrea Cooper, Upstate Forever’s Executive Director. “We also deeply appreciate everyone in the community who worked together to protect the rural character of the area and the treasure that is the Glassy Mountain Heritage Trust Preserve.”
The proposed development, a subdivision of 254 homes on 183 acres to be called the Summit at Glassy, was the subject of local outcry since it was first made public. Glassy Mountain is a rare geologic formation known as a “monadnock.” The SC Department of Natural Resources preserves 65 acres of the monadnock, the Glassy Mountain Heritage Preserve, as this landform is unusual in South Carolina and harbors several rare plant species. Glassy Mountain is surrounded by several large, privately-owned and rural or agrarian tracts that contribute significantly to the protection of the sensitive ecosystem that surrounds it and contribute to the viewshed.
The Pickens County Planning Commission approved plans for the development this past June. In July, Upstate Forever filed an appeal and a request for pre-litigation mediation in Pickens County circuit court in conjunction with adjacent landowners Shelly Smith and Doug Hinkle. The opposing party filed a motion to dismiss, but in August, a Fourth Circuit judge ruled in Upstate Forever’s favor and upheld the appeal. Upstate Forever, Smith and Hinkle are represented by J.J. Andrighetti of the Greenville law firm Kehl Culbertson Andrighetti LLC.
For more information, contact Shelley Robbins at firstname.lastname@example.org.