State Decided to Cut Landslide Hazard Map-Making in Highlands, NC Region

State lawmakers recently decided to cut the state’s landslide mapping unit, which was created to assess which mountain slopes are most likely to create a landslide.

The Smoky Mountain News reported that five state geologists who were working on the maps were laid off this week.

The state’s decision will save about $355,000 a year.

Continue reading to learn more about what this means for Highlands, NC area home owners and buyers.

Living in the Highlands, NC Area

Since the landslide mapping unit began working on the landslide hazard maps in 2005,  they have completed studying four counties:

The team was in the process of studying Jackson County’s mountain slopes when the state cut their funding.
The state’s landslide mapping unit has faced controversy since the beginning because many critics felt that mapping the landslide hazard zones would make it harder to sell property in those zones.

Critics of the mapping unit also questioned whether the unit’s conclusions were accurate.

But others thought that the landslide unit was a great public safety initiative – providing mountain residents with vital information about at-risk areas.

Since landslides typically follow predictable paths, proponents also said that the landslide maps wouldn’t hurt property values, but rather help people figure out on which side of a lot to build their home.

In fact, experts say that mapping where old landslides happen is the best way to predict where future slides will take place.

The geologists working on the landslide project relied heavily on old landslide sites to predict whether a slop was at a low, medium or high risk for a future landslide.

Macon County officials hope to use the findings by incorporating them into a new steep slope ordinance.  A handful of other Western North Carolina counties – including Jackson and Haywood – already have such an ordinance.

To view Macon County’s landslide map, visit www.geology.enr.state.nc.us/Landslide_Info/MaconCounty.html.

A partial map for Jackson is expected to be posted soon to wfs.enr.state.nc.us/fist/.

Highlands, NC Area Real Estate

What do you think of state lawmakers’ decision to cut funding to the landslide hazard map-making unit? Let me know!

And if you’re thinking about entering the Highlands, NC real estate market as a Highlands area home buyer or home seller, then contact me, Dorothy Swearingen.

As a Highlands, NC REALTOR, I strive to keep up-to-date on the news that affects Highlands area home buyers and Highlands area home sellers so I can help them make educated decisions on the Highlands area real estate market.

Until next time,

Dorothy

 

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