Saturday, December 8, 2007

View of Mountain Slope Development

Scenic Wolf Mountain Resort. Madison County, North Carolina. Madison County has no slope regulations.

Your letter of February 17, 2006 to Governor Easley concerning development in Madison County has been referred to my office for reply.

Your concern about the potential problems of mountain development, including the Scenic Wolf Mountain Resort, is certainly justified. We have already seen a number of cases of severe property damage and loss of life results because of development in areas of unstable slope. Historically, restriction of mountainside development has been left to local government. Such regulation could include the types of requirements mentioned in your letter. North Carolina does have an erosion and sedimentation control law that requires that slopes be stable from erosion.

In response to the hurricane damage in the mountains, the General Assembly did authorize in 2004 that this Division start a landslide hazard mapping program for nineteen counties, including Madison County. When completed, these maps would be provided to county governments for their use in possible regulation. Although mapping for Madison County is not scheduled to be completed before this project is likely finished, the landslide database does show past slope movement in the general area of the project.

Thank you for your letter and concern. I wish I could better address your concern, but there is currently very little state regulation in this matter. You may want to express your concerns to the county government.


James D. Simmons, Director and State Geologist
North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources
copy of original letter on

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