Stuck in the mud

Following a deluge of neighbors’ complaints, the city of Asheville once again cited the developer of the 65-acre Beaucatcher Heights subdivision project in Kenilworth after heavy rains washed silt and mud from the site into a creek that feeds Kenilworth Lake.

This is the fourth time the development has been slapped with a violation regarding sediment runoff since new storm-water regulations were adopted in August 2007, said Transportation and Engineering Director Cathy Ball. Construction began in February 2007.

“The developer has been informed that there is a notice of violation and it is considered severe,” Ball told Xpress. The $5,000 fine is the largest Beaucatcher Heights has incurred to date. Two previous violations brought $2,000 fines and another, $500. All of those instances, she noted, arose during heavy rains. A report issued by the city says that Project Manager Julie Miller of the Asheville-based Taylor & Murphy Construction Co. was notified of the violation.

Such downpours also typically unleash a flood of e-mails from Kenilworth residents to the city demanding increased enforcement and penalties, and this time was no different.

“This continues to happen and will not stop until you, City Council, choose to act,” resident Peter Loewer wrote.

The messages caught the attention of Council member Robin Cape, who sent an e-mail to City Manager Gary Jackson saying, “Please advise why this is still occurring.”

In another e-mail, Loewer described the view from Kenilworth, saying, “At this moment (2:26 p.m.), the most mud I’ve ever seen is clouding the lake water and moving slowly down to the dam.” Loewer and others blame logging on Beaucatcher Mountain for the runoff and predict continued erosion problems in the future.

Both Jackson and Ball responded that a team of city inspectors had already visited the site, along with representatives of the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Division of Water Quality. But Kenilworth resident William Jell questions the effectiveness of the fine and says the city needs to levy heavier penalties every day a site is in violation.

“When you have a developer that has [$7 million to $10 million] into this property, what does he care about a $1,000 fine a few times a year that occurs when it happens to rain? It’s pretty much a farce,” Jell wrote in an e-mail to Xpress.

Ball said the developers will be issued a list of required corrections to the site and a deadline by which they must be completed.

To view the city’s notice of violation, go to www.mountainx.com/xpressfiles.

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One thought on “Stuck in the mud

  1. lokel

    Is anyone surprised that he City is unable or refuses to enforce its’ own regulations and ordinances?

    Look at what has been going on over at Greenlife on Maxwell Street and across the street at Staples… these developers haven’t paid the first dime of these fines and the lake is filling with sediment as we speak …. not to mention the mud on the roads in this area …. what a freaking joke, and Cape wonders why this is continuing to happen?

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