Mountain Air: A Hazardous-Land Subdivision
The Mountain Air residential community, located in Yancey County, NC was sited on geologically-hazardous land. Federal authorities state that landslides and slope failures can be expected.
Wurster engineering photos of before and after Mountainaircc/Austin View Villas underground landslide repair—
Wurster Engineering and Construction, Inc.— Description of Mountainaircc/ Austin View Villas landslide remediation:
Continuous slope movement was causing considerable damage to the Austin View Villas Condominiums. Slope inclinometers indicated that slope movement was occurring about 40 ft below the condominiums and extending to the road above the condominiums.Legal Actions re Mountain Air Development Company
WEC installed patterned ground anchors to stabilize the slope. Patterned ground anchors consisted of 85 to 110 ft long strand tieback anchors connected to 8 ft by 8 ft reinforced concrete pads. Once the tieback construction was completed, the slope was backfilled.
Subsequent slope inclinometer readings indicate that slope movement has ceased. The condominiums were releveled and restored by others.
In 2003-2004, earth movement impacted steep slope condominium buildings in the residential community known as Mountain Air (Mountainaircc). The landslide caused structural damage to Austin View Villas and Hemlock Bluff Villas. Affected property owners sued the developer, Mountain Air Development Corporation, for negligence and other causes of action.
Austin View Villas Landslide Property Damage Complaint
(07 CVS 19)
…in 2003 the foundations of two buildings of the five unit Austin View Villas began cracking and in late 2004 the foundations of the Units began and/or continued moving and “sliding” on the side of the mountain upon which the Units had been constructed, causing the foundations, wall structures, floors, and other components of the Units to crack and to deteriorate substantially. As a consequence, the Units became-and remain-completely uninhabitable and the Intervenor Plaintiffs have been deprived entirely of the use and enjoyment of their Units since January 2005.
Hemlock Bluff Villas Landslide Property Damage Complaint
During the summer of 2004, Building C, one of the Hemlock Bluffs condominium units began shifting on its slope site. Court documents reveal that:
Hemlock has been severely damaged, including separating of the decks from the buildings, cracking in foundation and supports, movement of stairs and walls, and otherwise and Plaintiff has spent and will spend substantial sums of money for the extraordinary repairs and reconstruction of the buildings and major portions of the common elements at Hemlock.The complaint, Hemlock Bluff Villas Condominium Association Inc. vs. Mountain Air Development Corporation et al (06 CVS 51), was settled out of court.
Mountain Air Landslide Insurance Issues
Insurers have evaluated the probability of earth-movement property loss and as a result, this hazard is not covered. These restrictions apply to all US-issued homeowner policies.
Western North Carolina Landslide Hazard Maps
Due to the region's adverse geologic conditions, federal authorities (FEMA) obligated the state in 2005 to produce landslide hazard identification maps for nineteen at-risk mountain counties. Maps for Macon, Watauga and Buncombe Counties mark areas of critical slope status and the need for geo-technical on-site analysis.
Landslide Predictives: Steep Slopes and Colluvial Soils
Yancey County, NC steep slope soils are "ill-suited" for home sites and infrastructure. Reference: Yancey County, NC Soil Survey
Steep slopes are universally defined as land on or above a 15% grade.
Failure to Disclose
Mountain Air Development Corporation and agencies listing Mountain Air real estate have several unmet obligations. These parties have failed to disclose the Western North Carolina Landslide Hazard Mapping Program, Austin View/Hemlock Bluff Villas slope repair and contraindicated Mountain Air soil findings.