Friday, February 12, 2010

Henderson County Mountain Real Estate Threatened by Landslides and Hazardous Soils

North Carolina Geological Survey—
Cost to repair the Bear Rock Estates private
subdivision road $394,000.

Western North Carolina Landslide Hazard Real Estate Maps

In October 2006 Governor Mike Easley issued a press release stating the importance of Western North Carolina landslide hazard real estate maps:
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.
Henderson County Landslide Hazard Maps

The North Carolina Geological Survey expects to release Henderson County landslide maps within the year. These maps will demonstrate that homes and private subdivision roads throughout the county are at serious risk of debris flows, the most common type of destructive Western North Carolina landslides.

Henderson County steep slope building sites (defined as land on or above a 15% grade) are affected by another considerable geologic hazard: unstable soil conditions. The NCGS will include a digitized soils hazard map with the Henderson County landslide maps.

NCGS—September 2004— Embankment
failure threatens Henderson County, NC home.

Henderson County Soil Survey

The 1980 Henderson County Soil Survey instructs that steep slope soils are "ill-suited" for building sites because they require: “major increase in construction effort, special design, or intensive maintenance.” These costly engineering measures may not be feasible for some soils.

Unstable Soils: Focus of Carriage Park Lawsuit

One of the Carriage Springs town
Hendersonville Times-News

When the land under their town homes began to move, six Carriage Park/Carriage Springs property owners took legal action against the developer and their builder.

James Shea, a staff reporter for the Hendersonville Times-News, covered the trial in a series of articles. The following is a summary of the court proceedings.

Carriage Springs Property Owners Allege:

1. Dale Hamlin, the developer and others, failed to disclose that land for the Carriage Park/Carriage Springs town home model required $31,000-$41,000 site preparation.

2. Hamlin failed to disclose the financial relationship between Carriage Park Associates and the recommended builder, Estate Homes of North Carolina.


Cost to repair structural damage to town homes: $900,000. Expense to stabilize slopes: $200,000.

Town home construction did not comply with Henderson County building code.


Dale Hamlin told the jury that he knew the development of the Carriage Park Subdivision would be a challenge, "It is difficult, steep terrain."

Mr. Hamlin said that he did not reveal the engineering costs to his clients because this information would have impeded lot sales.

Jury Finds Fraud

Defendants: Carriage Park Associates, CPA Realty, Estate Homes of North Carolina and Greg Youse were found guilty of the charges.

Hendersonville Times-News Editorial

Following the trial, the newspaper wrote an editorial suggesting that the county Inspections Department was responsible for the harm caused to the Carriage Springs property owners:

But what is left from the trial's devastating mountain of evidence is a fundamental indictment of the way some promoters and developers do business in Henderson County, and the way the county has tacitly permitted site work and construction that ought to have been red tagged.

The county Inspections Department was an unindicted co-conspirator. Why didn't it do more to call the builder on the violations as they were happening? Why did it sign off on foundation walls that were two to three times taller than code allows?

The questions were not answered.
County commissioner Chuck McGrady was quoted in the editorial: “The Carriage Park situation raises the issue of whether the county ought to play a larger role in development on steep slopes. There are places in this county we ought not be building, or if we were building there, we ought to be building to a different standard.”

Information not reported by the Hendersonville News-Times

There have been twenty-five lawsuits filed regarding Carriage Park development.

On June 17, 2009 Dale Hamlin received a Notice of Violations of the Sedimentation Pollution Control Act. Mr. Hamlin’s company, Carriage Park Associates, LLC was cited in part for
f. Failure to take all reasonable measures to protect all public and private property from damage by such land-disturbing activities 15A NCAC 4B. .0105. Section 15(Carriage Crest) lots 1525, 1527, 1539, and 1562 have had significant damage to their properties due to failure to take all reasonable measures to protect them Section 16 (Carriage Glen) home (Haywood Knolls Subdivision) and tributary below the large tributary sediment trap have had damage over the last couple of years due to failure to take all reasonable measures to protect them.

h. Failure to maintain on graded slopes and fills, an angle which can be retained by vegetative cover or other adequate erosion control devices or structures. G. S. 113A-57(2). Carriage Crest Drive, High Fields Court, Crest Court, Millbrae Loop and Dawn Mist Court right of ways are not stable and must be addressed in the plan with proper measures to stabilize.
Hazardous-Land Real Estate Disclosure

Dale Hamlin was truthful when he said that hazardous-land disclosure would be a deal breaker. The six Carriage Springs property owners testified that if they had been apprised of the risks and costs, they would not have bought land in the Carriage Park Subdivision.


Pam Williams said...

It does my heart good to see landslide victims fighting back using our legal system. Unfortunately, my attorney, Mary Euler of McGuire, Wood, and Bissett in Asheville, NC, said it could not be dones successfully. I did not agree with her assessment regarding this matter.

Now, I am seeing victimized homeowners fighting back against the developer and other parties, who failed to disclose pertinent facts which would have possibly influenced the buyer not to buy.

In my opinion, the parties who fail to disclose upon selling,the pertinent facts surrounding a parcel of land, or a structure upon that my opinion...are purely criminal.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I lost $125,000 trying to build in Carriage Park on what turned out to be a stump dump.
It was a horrible experience and if we would have talked to other residence we would have never even tried to build. We were lied to and sent money from another State being told the building was in progress. After a year there was little progress and the crooked contractor turned around and sued us so he could wait until the last second to stop the law suit from going to court. I can't believe these horrible people are still covering up there actions and out of State Buyers have know way of knowing how awful and unethical those developers are. Somebody has to be getting paid under the table. It was one of the worst things we ever had to go through in out lives.