Commissioners declare state of emergency due to flood risk in Leicester UPDATED

UPDATE: The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that a failed retention pond in the Serenity Forest area off New Leicester Highway “prompted the evacuation of three homes and damaged a nearby road.”

PREVIOUSLY Officials have determined that there’s an imminent threat of flooding in an isolated area of Leicester near the Serenity Forest subdivision on Timberwood Drive due to recent heavy rains and the resulting possible failure of a sediment pond.

Three homes in the area have been evacuated, according to Angie Ledford, Buncombe County emergency management onsite coordinator. She said that, at this time, the threat of property damage is isolated to those sites and adjacent access roads.

The sediment pond has already been partially breached, she reports, causing some damage to a nearby road. However, Buncombe County crews worked today, July 12, to bring water levels down by about 3 feet, she said. The extent of further damage depends on the weather, she said, noting that the rain hasn’t been nearly as heavy today as it was yesterday.

As of this morning, Asheville had received about 2.45 inches of rain over the previous 24 hours, according to the Asheville Citizen-Times. Some areas outside of town received much more, with Brevard getting 6.78 inches and Burnsville getting 5.12 inches, according to the paper.

The declaration of a “local state of emergency” by the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners allows the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources to be able to “bring state resources onto private property” to help mitigate the situation, according to Ledford.

Government action is necessary because the property “owners do not currently have the financial ability to take corrective measures to maintain and repair a major erosion control feature/sediment trap and fill slope on the property,” according to the declaration.

Read the “Declaration of a Local State Emergency” in its entirety:

The following declaration is issued by Board of Commissioners of Buncombe County:

WHEREAS, upon information and belief, Serenity Forest, Phase II, is a failed subdivision in Buncombe County located off Leicester Highway on Timberwood Drive as identified on the County Tax Maps as PIN#: 9629‐05‐4925 and PIN#: 9629‐05‐5532, and its owners do not currently have the financial ability to take corrective measures to maintain and repair a major erosion control feature/sediment trap and fill slope on the property;

WHEREAS, as a result of severe weather on Wednesday, July 11, 2012, emergency response was required to pump water out of a detention feature located in the subdivision and erosion control officers with NCDENR have determined that there exists an imminent threat of severe damage, injury, or loss of life or property resulting from the possible failure of the erosion control feature/sediment trap and fill slope and this meets the definition of disaster as set forth in N.C.G.S. §166A‐4; and

WHEREAS, pursuant to the authority contained in Article 1 of N.C.G.S. Chapter 166A, and Article 36A Chapter 14, the Board of Commissioners, do hereby declare that a Local State of Emergency exists at Serenity Forest, Phase II located off Leicester Highway on Timberwood Drive as identified on the County Tax Maps as PIN#: 9629‐05‐4925 and PIN#: 9629‐05‐5532 starting at 5:00 p.m., July 11, 2012.

NOW, THEREFORE, pursuant to the authority contained in Article 1 of the N.C.G.S. Chapter 166A, and Article 36A of N.C.G.S. Chapter 14, the Board of Commissioners, do hereby declare that a Local State of Emergency exists at Serenity Forest, Phase II located off Leicester Highway on Timberwood Drive as identified on the County Tax Maps as PIN#: 9629‐05‐4925 and PIN#: 9629‐05‐5532.

We further declare that the Emergency Management Plan adopted by Buncombe County, and all applicable mutual assistance compacts and agreements are in effect and shall remain in effect until this Declaration expires or is rescinded. All emergency management personnel are hereby ordered to cooperate in the implementations of the provisions of the County’s Emergency Management Plan and all applicable mutual assistance compacts and agreements, and to furnish assistance thereunder.

We direct that copies of this Declaration be disseminated to the mass communications media for publication and broadcast, and that a copy of this Declaration be posted in the County Courthouse and other public buildings as appropriate.

This declaration shall be effective upon signature and shall apply retroactive from Thursday, July 11, 2012 at 5:00 p.m. and said Declaration shall terminate on Tuesday, August 7, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. unless rescinded earlier.

Adopted this the 12th day of July 2012.

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About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning journalist who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

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