Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bear Lake Reserve Landslide Issues

Bear Lake Reserve Subdivision Jackson County, North Carolina

Photograph of Bear Lake Prior to Development

Bear Lake Reserve Subdivision Site Map

Land for the subsequently-named  Bear Lake Reserve Subdivision was purchased by Centex Destination Properties in April 2003. Tax records indicate that Centex paid $11 million for the original 770-acre tract. By early 2004, the company's contractors were cutting roads and laying out home sites in Phase One of the proposed 800-residence subdivision.

When the Bear Lake Reserve project is finished, the Property Owners' Association will assume responsibility for maintaining water, sewer and road systems in the enlarged 2,100-acre subdivision.

Macfarlan Capital Partners, L.P. acquired Bear Lake Reserve in April 2008 for an undisclosed sum. TerraMesa Resorts, an MCP-formed entity, is presently in charge of operations.

Jackson County, NC Real Estate: Landslide Hazard Concerns

If Centex had conducted due diligence before investing in Jackson County mountain land, the company would have known that the Bear Lake Reserve site was "ill-suited" for residential development because its steep slope soils require “major increase in construction effort, special design, or intensive maintenance.” References: Jackson County, NC Soil Survey/ Jackson County, NC Land Development Plan advisory.

Jackson County, NC  Landslide Photo
SouthWings Flyover 2010

Legasus/Waterdance Subdivision Landslide Jackson County, North Carolina—February 2010
Photos: Perry Eury

“These slides are occurring countywide. None as visible as this one, but I’m vetting calls every time it rains.” Robbie Shelton—Jackson County, NC erosion control officer.

Jackson County, NC  landslide photo 2010—

Since the Bear Lake Reserve Centex-land purchase, stakeholders have had a steep learning curve.

The following reprinted  report details Bear Lake Reserve areas of concern. MCP, the current developer, is holding Centex responsible.

Bear Lake Reserve Property Owners Update November 21, 2008

Phases I and II
This past week concluded a major review of the progress on infrastructure projects by the Terramesa team. We reviewed each of the line items that have been identified as discrepancies with a specific focus on the water distribution to Phase I lots and correction of hillside stability.

In addition to the hillside stability issues, our Land Development and Resident Civil Engineer reviewed the progress on extension of the water system to several points within Phase I and Phase II that require additional pumping and piping. These plans are in preliminary review and are the basis for the project execution plan which Centex will review.

Lakeshore Condos and Juneberry Cottages

Engineering plans for slide correction at the Lakeshore Condos and the Juneberry Cottages were reviewed and forwarded to Centex. Centex is working through the approval process which will include on-site inspections. Once approved these projects will get underway and will be completed.

Lilywood Court and Purpletop Drive

Final grading and utility installation was completed on Lilywood Drive. Purple Top paving has been completed and the erosion control and storm water management components have been put in place.

The next step will be a review of each additional site for preparedness. We want to ensure that we accomplish the infrastructure tie-ins in the most efficient manner requiring some preliminary research and confirmation of the current status.

Southshore Mountain Lodges

Centex made a return visit last week to do a site review of the geotechnical repair proposal for the slide at Southshore mountain lodges. We are currently waiting for approval to begin repairs.
Centex Corporation: Hazardous-Land Subdivisions

The Bear Lake Reserve subdivision tract has two documented geologic impediments: landslide-prone slopes and erodible soils. These perils are significant financial burdens for homeowners: insurers will not cover earth-movement related property loss.

It is not known whether Macfarlin Capital Group and Bear Lake Reserve property owners are aware that Centex, now Pulte, has a record of using unstable land tracts for residential endeavors.

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