In response to requests by neighbors and with the approval of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Buncombe County is moving to demolish the contaminated former CTS of Asheville plant on Mills Gap Road.
The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners instructed the county manager July 26 to negotiate with a private demolition company to take it down, reports board Chair David Gantt.
“This is a pretty big move for us. … The earlier EPA felt they would rather do testing with the roof on top,” he explains. “But the roof and the whole thing was such a mess that we think we need to get it done now. … recently the EPA’s got some new people working it and they said, ‘yes, that would help us.’”
At the June 29 request of a group of neighborhood residents, the county sent building-inspection staff to the site for an evaluation. Their subsequent report notes 13 sizable holes in the roof, which shows extensive evidence of decay, and steel supporting beams are corroded.
“Given the extent of decay … it doesn’t seem feasible to repair these holes,” the report states. “In all probability the roof, roof decking and some of the cross members would need to be replaced.”
And recent photos taken by an EPA contractor show extensive graffiti, evidence of trespassing. To secure the premises, the report notes, door and window openings would need to be covered with plywood, which would require continued maintenance.
The property owner, Mills Gap Road Associates, has not made known its position on the county’s move to condemn the building. As of July 22, the county had notified the property owner of the concerns but not yet sent a formal notice of violation.
However, although a date for the demolition hasn’t yet been set, Gantt says the county intends to act soon, noting that taxpayers may pay what could amount to $200,000 for the demolition work.
“We’re going to go ahead and pay it … so we can get the show on the road and get the clean up and demolition moving,” he maintains. “I think that will be good news for the people that live out there.”
Photos courtesy of EPA.