Sunday, January 10, 2010


In western North Carolina since 1990, six people have died, five have been injured, and 40 homes and buildings have been destroyed in 534 landslides and debris flows on our mountain slopes.

In Watauga County alone, almost 1,000 homes and 300 undeveloped lots are in the path of potential landslides mapped by the North Carolina Geological Survey. Bulldozing new roads on steep slopes is one of the leading causes of slope failure.

Those maps of Watauga County landslide hazards are technically "available" for review, but no county government action has been taken on disclosure of known hazardous slopes to new buyers, for example, or requirements for additional engineering for new construction on slopes deemed unstable or likely to fail. (The Town of Boone did pass new steep slope regs, along with Asheville and the counties of Jackson, Haywood, and Buncombe.)

A bill to regulate steep slope construction in the state's General Assembly was squelched by big developer and real estate lobbies. Some additional mountain counties (like Macon) are moving in the direction of regulating steep-slope construction, and at least one primary campaign in the Democratic Party is making it a political issue in 2010.

Insurgent Patsy Keever, a former Buncombe Co. commissioner, is running a Democratic primary against incumbent Democratic NC House member Bruce Goforth (representing the 115th House district). Goforth is a general contractor.

Keever is well known and well respected in Buncombe. Goforth is a 4-term incumbent, well entrenched. We'll be watching this race on May 4.


Thinker said...

OMG are we on this again????

Thinker said...

It has worked so well here in ol' Boone industry, no development, no tax nothin' and a big, huge, shiny, new high school to pay for.....