Thursday, February 18, 2010

Planning Board Fails to Disclose Henderson County Hazardous-Land Conditions

Carriage Park Lawsuit

Following the November 2009 trial that revealed hazardous building sites in the Carriage Park Subdivision and egregious actions on the part of the Inspections department, County commissioner Chuck McGrady said
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.
The Carriage Park lawsuit exposed the common practice of selling unstable subdivision lots to unwary purchasers. Six Carriage Park plaintiffs told the jury that if the developer Dale Hamlin had been truthful about the risks and costs of building town homes on slopes likely to fail, they would have declined to purchase.

Currently the Carriage Park/ Carriage Springs town homes and adjacent land require $1,100,000 in remediation measures. The Hendersonville Times-News covered the Carriage Park trial in a series of articles.

Hazardous-Soil Findings for Henderson County Mountain Real Estate

Henderson County steep slope building sites (defined as land on or above a 15% grade) have long been classified “unsuitable” or “poorly suitable” for residential development because of defective soil conditions. “On site evaluation and planning” is needed when these soils are used to support roads and homes.

Caveat: The decision to build homes and roads on these soils will result in “a major increase in construction effort, special design, or intensive maintenance.” These costly engineering measures may not be feasible for some soils. Reference:1980 Henderson County Soil Survey

Henderson County Mountain Real Estate: Landslide-Hazardous

Landslides also pose significant geologic threats to Henderson County real property.

The North Carolina Geologic Survey plans to release Henderson County landslide maps this year. These maps, along with enhanced computer technology, will enable the planning board to pinpoint landslide-hazardous locations throughout the county. Western North Carolina landslides became a federal disaster concern in 1998.

Fraudulent Concealment

Henderson County steep slope building sites have two indisputable material defects: landslides and unstable soils.

Legal definition of a material defect: A material defect is a problem with the property that the seller knows about, knows would make the property worth less, and which the seller chooses to conceal from the buyer.

Evidence presented during Carriage Park trial showed that the developer Dale Hamlin knew he was exposing his clients to undisclosed financial risks.

Mr. Hamlin was able to deceive his clients because the Henderson County planning board did not record the Carriage Park development tract as a hazardous-land subdivision.

When planning boards act in concert with developers to conceal material defects from purchasers they are aiding and abetting fraudulent sales practices.

1 comment:

Pam Williams said...

"When planning boards act in concert with developers to conceal material defects from purchasers they are aiding and abetting fraudulent sales practices."

The above says it all. It is too late for me and other landslide victims, but those yet to buy properties in Western North Carolina need to read the above.