Saturday, April 5, 2008

Grey Rock at Lake Lure...Is this Development on Stable Ground?

What is happening in Grey Rock, location of the HGTV Dream Home giveaway?

The Asheville Citizen-Times reported on February 18, 2007 that the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources had halted all construction in Grey Rock because of environmental degradation caused by road building. State inspectors documented erosion violations from September 21, 2005 to February 16 of 2006 and fined the developer, Land Resource Companies, approximately $94,000.

In the same article Janet Boyer, a regional engineer for the Land Quality section of NCDENR, stated "They're still under a notice of violation on three sections--they're not in compliance. They're not allowed to proceed with any work until they comply with these notices. The company has not complied with ground cover requirements, re-seeding and some slope repair that needs to happen, and its work caused problems with stream sedimentation." Please see John Boyle's article "Grey Rock Development in Lake Lure Area May Finally Arrive."

The minutes of the Rutherford County Commissioners' Meeting of January 8, 2006 provide the following information concerning construction issues in Grey Rock:

Danny Searcy of the Planning Department presented a recommendation from the Planning Commission for an extension of the completion dates for road construction in Phases 1 and 2 of the Greyrock development in Lake Lure. He explained that there is new leadership in the the development corporation and that the bond values have been revised. The Planning Commission has scrutinized these plans carefully. The developer will present quarterly reports to the Planning Commission. A work plan to meet requirements of the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources is being implemented.

Mr. Mark Rogers of Land Resource Companies stated that his company is committed to completing the work at Grey Rock. He explained the difficulties they were up against, citing problems with the original design, which has been based on faulty topographic maps; the narrowness of the road right of way, which did not provide adequate space for grading and filling; and the inexperience of the contractor in working in this kind of terrain. He said that in phases 3 and 4, ground level surveys would be conducted with an experienced crew. Also, a contractor is on board who understands how to build in this environment.

Commissioner Helton noted that they had been cited not to do any more work until erosion problems had been addressed. Mr. Rogers said that they would not proceed until they had clearance from DENR.

Commissioner Hill asked whether Mr. Rogers would be willing to return in six months with an updated report. Mr. Rogers agreed to do so. Manager Condrey suggested that the Commissioners also receive the quarterly reports that will be prepared for the Planning Commission.

Commissioner Washburn made a motion to accept the recommendations of the Planning Commission in regard to the construction deadline extensions for Phase 1 and Phase 2 for Greyrock and to authorize the County Attorney, Danny Searcy and John Condrey to finalize the necessary addendums to the existing Performance Agreements with Buffalo Creek L.L.C. Commissioner Hill seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.

Topix opened a discussion on Grey Rock in February 2007. Steven Zide offered the following comment after reading the Asheville Citizen-Times article on their website. "I own a lot in Gray Rock phase II. I am very concerned about the article that I just read. I had no idea of the problems that Grey Rock is causing. As lot owners, we should be informed. The roads were supposed to be done a year ago and I can not even get to my property to see it. Very disturbed..." March 1, 2007.

The Grey Rock website does not warn that slopes within the resort have experienced serious erosion, nor does it reveal the findings of the 1997 Rutherford County Soil Survey. This 450 page document states that the majority of slope construction sites in the county are unsuitable or poorly suitable for urban development. "As the slope increases the hazard of erosion and the difficulty in controlling erosion increases." Please see page 192 of the report.

There have been recent landslides in Rutherford County, but this region is not included in the Western North Carolina "Is it Safe to Build Here?" landslide mapping program.

Land Resource, LLC is obligated to provide full disclosure of all material risks to current and prospective property owners. The erosion problems within the resort could diminish property values and might present a serious long term financial responsibility for the Grey Rock Property Owners Association.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

OH my gosh; we owned a lot at Grey Rock for 2 days and then decided against it. So glad we did as we were concerned 2 yrs. ago at how slow they were moving...