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SERIOUS QUESTIONS FOR THE SERIOUS LAND BUYER
(A Public Service offered by Bill Vernon Development)

Welcome to Macon County! We want you as our neighbor but also want your experience in our community to be a pleasant one with NO surprises. As you shop around for land you will find a wide variety of options and prices. Close to town or further out, views or valleys, good access, poor access, high end or low end etc. Drinking Water, Roads and Septic Systems are absolutely the most important issues you face. As always, you usually get what you pay for. Buying land in these mountains is unlike buying land anywhere else. Whether you purchase from us or another - you need to educate yourself before making any decisions. As a public service we have comprised a list of serious issues that can have a profound effect on your decisions and your wallet:

DRINKING WATER: - You may find the prettiest, best land value in the county but if you can't get drinking water what good is it? You will need a well for your water. Consider what can happen to you if you purchase land in an area where YOU are responsible to drill your own well; At $11.00+ per foot and an average depth of 700' you'll have 7,700.00 just in the hole - no pump yet. It is VERY possible that you may have to drill 2 or even 3 holes in order to obtain a good productive well. We've had a total of 4 non productive holes at Featherstone so far. You could end up spending 10,000.00 - 20,000.00 or more just in the hole! Add another 3,000.00 - 6,000.00 for the pump and other necessary equipment and your attempt to secure drinking water could add another 15,000.00 - 30,000.00 to the cost of developing your building site before you even begin thinking about building your house. Even worse, suppose you purchased a small parcel as did all your neighbors. They are all ready to build and proceed to install their septic systems, wells etc. There are state mandated setbacks that may come over on to your property as result of your neighbors actions and unbeknownst to you that could render sections of your parcel non-useable insofar as a well or septic system is concerned. You MUST have knowledge and be careful so these issues do not came back to kick you in the head and wallet. Some communities offer chlorinated city water. We prefer and offer natural, deep well, mountain water - no chlorine other than one shock treatment to sterilize the system after any work is done. ALL parcels in Featherstone have access to deep well drinking water delivered right to the property line - usually right to your driveway.

SEPTIC SYSTEMS & PERMITS - This issue goes hand and hand with the drinking water section discussed above and has great importance when it comes to smaller parcels. Did you know that if your neighbor was to install a septic system or drill a well lets say 15' from his adjoining property line with you, this can have a profound effect on what you can now do with your land? The Health Dept. will require that there be a 100' setback separating a septic system from a well. Do you know what happens if you draw a 100' circle around a well? You loose almost 1 acre of land that can not be used for a septic system. Clearly, both septic systems and drinking water MUST be addressed together if you intend to build on the land that you purchase. Your neighbor can definitely impact you and your options. It is important that you address upfront if and where will you be able to install a septic system and where will you get your drinking water. There are cases where people owning a small parcel can no longer get either on their land rendering it un-buildable.

ROADS: A poor road is an invitation to big trouble and reduced property values! Carefully consider:
  • ROAD WIDTH: Many lesser traveled or private roads in Macon County are very narrow. A wide road is a safe road. If you can't easily pass another car due to width, poor construction or bare spots, who will be the lucky one who gets to back up to let the other car by?
  • EMERGENCY VEHICLES: What about emergencies for fire or illness? If you can't easily pass another vehicle or there are problem spots - what about a fire truck or ambulance? Don't "scrimp" here as this is a very serious issue!!!
  • ACCESSIBILITY - How will you access your land? Will you control the access or will it be shared with others? Is there an active, functioning and operational road association of all those using the road? Is the road currently being maintained?
  • EASEMENTS: Always beware of a property whose access is via an easement through another persons land. Make sure that you have a deeded right-of-way that is plenty wide enough and offers you a good deal of control. Many mountain properties have compromised access and right-of-ways so be sure to have your attorney review all the access issues.
  • GRADE & STEEPNESS: Watch for steep areas - especially those with gravel that appears continuously disturbed for long distances. Any steep grade where your tires spin easily probably needs to be paved or you'll end up with ongoing, costly maintenance expenses. Also is the road bumpy or rattling your kidneys as you drive on it? Has it been machine graded?
  • GRAVEL: There is nothing wrong with a good, well built and well maintained gravel road. However, gravel usually requires constant maintenance. Dust can also be an issue especially to those with certain health issues. Roads in the mountains literally "eat gravel" over the first several years. Their appetite for gravel then slows a bit as they become more stable over time. Watch out for gravel roads with dirt or clay showing through. If you see dirt or clay showing through the gravel today, while it is for sale, what will it look like a year from now after another winter? You need to ask the seller how this will be addressed before you get stuck with thousands of dollars in repairs and maintenance. Gravel will run you about 300.00 +/- per truckload not including the bulldozer if you will need to level it!
  • DRAINAGE AND CULVERTS: The best protection for a road comes when you can shed the water off easily and quickly. Watch for "ruts" down the gravel or standing water that seem to remain problematic. A good road will have plenty of culverts.
  • CURRENT CONDITIONS: There are areas where land is being sold on what is currently a single lane or lane-and-a-half, sometimes narrow gravel road. In some instances these can even be D.O.T. maintained roads. In many of these instances there is a promise to improve, widen and or pave. Most likely it will happen - the question then becomes ... when? Be sure to investigate the issues yourself. Although well- intentioned, the D.O.T. has approved many roads for widening and paving but funding and commencement never seems to become a reality.
  • UNDER CONSTRUCTION / PRE COMPLETION: All of the road issues above are quite common while a project is under construction. Often, you can get your very best deals during these "pre-completion" times when the roads etc. are looking rough The key is be careful, be informed and investigate for yourself prior to purchase.


OTHER IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS:
  • DRIVEWAYS - Will you have a "fully completed" driveway or do you have to build and or finish off your own? You can figure on spending about - 18.00 - 20.00 per foot for a "quality" driveway like the ones we build and include.
  • VIEWS - Has your view been opened up? More importantly, do you have control of future tree growth? Or, are you told what could be done? You come here for a view. We spend "big money" to assure your view is open and protected.
  • ELECTRIC SERVICE - Is electric readily available? Overhead or underground? We provide underground power. You can get caught in a revenue guarantee with Duke Power if you are not careful. Figure on 2.50 - 3.00 per foot just to bury power.
  • SECURITY - Will your property be safe and secure? We offer one way in and one way out. This is security at its best without having to deal with a sometimes cumbersome or broken gate.
  • PROTECTIVE COVENANTS - Be careful! Macon County has no land use or zoning plan. Unless you purchase enough land to protect yourself, you could end up with an undesirable neighbor. Our restrictive covenants are realistic, reasonable and designed to fully protect your investment without having to purchase a huge parcel of land.
  • REFERENCES: Available upon request from those who have purchased in communities that I have built over the years. Reputation is everything!
AT FEATHERSTONE: We have addressed EVERY single issue. We have PAVED - D.O.T / State Road Maintained access into the community. ALL main roads are heavily graveled, graded smooth. I personally maintain at my sole expense every road I build for 1 - 3 years before it is turned over to the Property Owners Association. We address EVERY issue facing the prospective land buyer. We feel that it is well worth the piece of mind knowing that you will not be blindsided with issues that you may never have thought of. Join us for carefree mountain living that truly is ... Simply The Best!!!
Developers of: Featherstone and North Sugar Creek
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