Photographs of the Donin home on 93 Wildcat Run Road before and after the January 7, 2009 landslide—Asheville Citizens-Times
Donin Landslide—January 7, 2009 —Maggie Valley, North Carolina
Bruce and Lorraine Donin survived the swift-moving landslide that destroyed their Wild Acres Subdivision home. Trish Jones, another Wild Acres property owner, did not survive the landslide that covered her home in December 2003.
Water was the trigger for both landslides: the cause unstable soils.
Western North Carolina Mountain Real Estate
According to data compiled by the North Carolina Geological Survey all steep-slope building sites in Western North Carolina are threatened by the same conditions that caused loss of life and property in the Wild Acres Subdivision. Steep slope is defined as land at or above a 15% grade. Western North Carolina steep-slope real estate development became a federal concern in 1998.
1998— Federal Emergency Management Agency requires the state to notify 23 Western North Carolina county governments that land under their jurisdiction is landslide-hazardous.
2000— Western North Carolina real estate landslide-hazard mapping program is instituted.
September 16, 2004— The Peeks Creek landslide kills five people and destroys fifteen homes in Macon County. Homes and roads in fourteen other Western North Carolina counties experience landslide damage. The region receives two federal disaster declarations in September 2004.
February 2005 —North Carolina General Assembly recognizes the critical need to accelerate Western North Carolina real estate landslide-hazard mapping program.
October 2006—Macon County real estate landslide-hazard maps are promoted by then-governor Mike Easley:
These maps will show which areas are prone to landslides, and that will help developers, county officials, and residents decide where to safely build homes, roads, and other structures.January 2008—Watauga County real estate landslide-hazard maps are released.
April 2009— Buncombe County real property hazardous-land data is provided to planning boards.
August 2009—Buncombe County real estate landslide-hazard maps are released.
Members of the North Carolina Association of Realtors do not believe that their clients should receive fair warning that Western North Carolina mountain real estate is landslide-hazardous.
Here is what the Association had to say about hazardous-land disclosure on May 15, 2009:
Mountain Property Development and Disclosure Legislation
Legislation to regulate mountain property transactions and require local governments to more stringently regulate development in those counties was thwarted and instead the issues will be studied. Reps. Ray Rapp (D-Madison), Phil Haire (D-Jackson), and Susan Fisher (D-Buncombe) introduced HB 782 (Safe Artificial Slope Construction Act), which would require local governments to enforce more rules for development in the mountains and amend the residential property disclosure statement to include disclosure of certain mountain property. In response to opposition from REALTORS® from the western part of the state and most other mountain legislators, this bill was turned into a study bill to research landslides and have public hearings. There is to be a bipartisan, eight member panel which will report to the legislature in May of 2010.