Remember the controversy over the eviction of the Ferrari family from their decrepit off-the-grid home in 2008?
Gabriel and Livia Ferrari had owed tens of thousands of dollars in back taxes unpaid since the ’90s, and their home and lot were sold in foreclosure after the eviction. Ferrari would not accept a $122,000 check for the value of his home and lot, and said he and his wife would live in a local shelter.
Though the Ferraris’ house was torn down and the collection of metal scraps, handmade signs, construction scraps and rebar in the yard were removed, the new owner Kevin Wei, who had public plans for condos, has not built on the property. The the seemingly abandoned lot–now a jungle of weeds and young trees encroaching on the sidewalk–is attracting attention from West Asheville residents who call it an eyesore.
Over at the AC-T, Jason has the story of neighborhood concern here:
One developer had grand plans to build a condo project dubbed “The Westcourt.” Debris from the torn-down house was recycled, and wood from trees on the 0.84-acre site were taken down and milled for future use.
But the recession hit, and the plans stalled. There’s been no action at the site, which is now a little jungle of overgrown weeds and saplings. Neighbors don’t much like the look of it, and some have complained on a Facebook site called West Asheville Watch, a popular online meeting spot for residents to talk about their neighborhood.
The property is now in the hands of the original buyer at foreclosure, Kevin Wei of Buncombe Realty. I called Wei to ask him about his plans for the site and whether he would consider cutting down the tall grass and shrubs.
“Why are they so particular about that?” Wei asked. “It’s kind of in its natural state, but I’ll check into it.”
Wei said he still hopes to develop the site, “but the lending environment is tough right now, so that’s why nothing has been built.”
Photo slideshow of the Ferraris’ now-destroyed home and yard from Mike Porcenaluk on Flickr.
From Porcenaluk’s photoset:
After 20 years of building this School of Surviving Skills, Gabriel Ferrari was evicted for owing $30,000 in back taxes in March 2008.
A few months ago, I stopped to talk to Gabriel when I saw him outside working one day. I quickly learned that this was not simply a hobby for someone who likes to be outdoors, but rather that he was preparing a place where the community could come to learn to support themselves, should an apocalyptic event occur.
Much like other outdoor survival programs teach, Mr. Ferrari told me that when our climate changes, (whether that be economical, natural, or supernatural), he would be instructed to gather professor figures to teach the community how to live in a primal environment again. He rightfully pointed out that the majority of citizens are completely dependant upon their suburban jobs, appliances, and conveniences, and would go into mass panic when they realized that they had to depend on themselves.
Two days after being evicted, the new owner, Buncombe Realty began tearing down the sheds and sculptures on the property. This is a photo essay documenting the work that Ferrari put in to his property, designing and building with his own hands beautifully intricate fencing, and functional tables, carts, and tools.
Does anyone know what happened to the Ferraris, and where they are now?
Category: Asheville News