Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce Fails to Disclose Buncombe County Hazardous-Land Real Estate Maps

City of Portland, Oregon

Photo/Burlingame Landslide—The Oregonian—October 8, 2008
PortlandMaps—6438 Burlingame Place—landslide hazard map

Buncombe County, North Carolina

Starnes Cove Landslide—NCGS—September 2004

Landslide Hazard Map—Town of Woodfin—April 2009

Landslide reports show parcel count and value for parcels in the unstable
area and the upper threshold area.

Disaster Maps Reveal Buncombe County Real Estate Hazards

Federal and state emergency management agencies expect disastrous events such as landslides, wildfires and flooding to impact major residential areas in Buncombe County. These forecasts have prompted the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to require real estate risk blue prints as part of the county’s hazard mitigation planning.

The Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) has designed and installed computer software that is able to locate by address all naturally hazardous real property locations. Although new to Buncombe County, these real estate risk determinate programs are in place in other multi-hazard municipalities.

Looking to buy real estate in the city of Portland? Type in an address, such as 6438 SW Burlingame Place- Hillsdale, on the PortlandMaps website and you will find that this property is rated for landslides, earthquakes and wildfires.

Why was this address chosen? There are two reasons: the first is to illustrate the sophistication of the PortlandMaps system and the second is to demonstrate the accuracy of geological findings. On the morning of October 8, 2008, a portion of the Burlingame lot collapsed and a neighborhood was devastated. The cause of the Burlingame landslide: use of a sprinkler system on unstable slopes.

Renaissance Computing Institute — Hazardous-Land Maps

Emergency personnel along with county, city and town planners were briefed in March 2009 on the use of the Buncombe County Multi-Hazard Risk Tool and its ability to generate real estate hazard/risk maps similar to those of Portland. Hazardous-land risk identification tools were installed in Buncombe County computer systems in April 2009.

Homes in Harm’s Way— Landslide Investigations

In March 2009 two newspapers, one national and the other regional, reported on the dire consequences of hazardous-land real estate development. The New York Times and the Asheville Citizen-Times found that thousands of homeowners across the county will face significant uninsurable landslide property losses.

City of Asheville—Buncombe County Real Estate

Visitors to the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce website will find links to a long list of Realty members but they will not find any information regarding hazardous-land maps.

It should be apparent to the governing board of the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce that they have a responsibility to provide a Buncombe County Real Estate—Hazardous-Land Disclosure Statement as part of their Realty website. If members of the board are uncertain about their obligations they should read the following:

U. S. Chamber of Commerce Public Policy Statement
Welcome to Chamber Of, your gateway to a world of resources. Our goal is to help keep you informed as a savvy and knowledgeable consumer.

Our web site contains information for consumers regarding what to look for to avoid being a victim of fraud, how to avoid problems and make better buying decisions.

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