February 17, 2006
Governor Michael F. Easley
Office of the Governor
20301 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, North Carolina 27699-0301
Dear Governor Easley,
I would like to bring to your attention the planned rezoning of 334 acres in the upper Laurel Valley in Madison County. Madison County is one of many mountain municipalities and the decisions that the Board of Commissioners make affect the county, the region, and the state. In March, the Madison County Board will vote on the recommendation to change the property from residential-agricultural to residential resort or retail-business zoning. If the rezoning is approved for B & E Ventures, the development will include 700 housing units, retail space, small jet port, and sewage treatment plant.
The real estate development team of Orville English and Rick Bussey, also known as B & E Ventures, have already begun extensive mountain side resort development close to the new proposed rezoning site. The combined mountain village setting is known as Scenic Wolf and Breakaway.
For your information I am enclosing plats and photographs of these sites. You can see the steep terrain and the crowded homes that project off the mountainside slopes. As we all are aware the counties in Western North Carolina have suffered loss of life and serious damage due to flooding and landslides in the past two years. We also know that mountain slope development is a contributing factor to these events.
In order to safeguard the interests of everyone involved I propose that the state require all mountain counties to conduct hazard mitigation studies in these vulnerable mountain slope developments and that the real estate limited liability developers provide this information as a disclosure on the sales contract.
To compensate the county and the state for future environmental disasters the developers should also have to contribute a reasonable amount to a state risk fund. For example, 10% of their investment in the project.
Thank you for your interest in this challenging issue.
Original letter posted on wncsos.com