Developer to fix latest erosion problem at Chocolate Drop

Published 5:20 pm Monday, January 26, 2009

Boyer says LGI has not implemented measures suggested by an initial geotechnical report and instead requested time to get a second report.

The state is still waiting for the second report and the payment of fines, she says. Boyer adds that the state is planning to go to mediation with LGI to resolve the issue, possibly in March. Boyer says the state was not aware of the latest erosion problem at Chocolate Drop but plans to look into it.

Stott says LGI likely will wait until late winter to make new repairs. Any rainfall combined with freezing temperatures could cause ice to break up compaction of the soil in that area, he says. &bsp;

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LGI is hoping it can get a 2-to-3-week window of good weather, he says, to get grass rooted so it will hold the slope in place.

&dquo;We&squo;re trying to get this thing under control where it&squo;s not an eyesore and there are no erosion problems,&dquo; says Stott.

LGI, a Texas-based developer, has spent considerable time and money fixing erosion problems over the past year. The company previously was cited by the N.C. Division of Land Resources for an erosion violation that resulted in sediment flowing over one of the development&squo;s roads and down into a pond at the foot of Chocolate Drop Mountain.

The developer cleared out silt from the pond, put in silt fences and completed other erosion control measures to keep silt from flowing there again. The developer also has reseeded grass on other steep slopes to keep them in place.

Some residents have questioned whether the road in the area of the latest slide is at risk. But Stott says it has been checked by a geologist and soil compaction expert and found to be safe.

&dquo;We do not have slope failure. There is zero slope failure,&dquo; says Stott. &dquo;We just have an erosion problem. The road is stable. There are no issues with the road.&dquo;

Columbus Town Manager Tim Holloman says the town received a complaint about the development because of the latest erosion problem. Holloman says he and Polk County Emergency Services Director Sandra Halford visited the area and found the road to be safe. He says there are roads in other areas of the county that are on similarly steep slopes.

So far no homes have been built in the development, although all 45 lots were sold.&bsp; Stott says he believes the developer will be able to fix all erosion control issues in the near future. He says about 50 percent of the erosion control measures put in place so far remain in good condition.

&dquo;We ask for the patience of Polk County residents because we&squo;re working hard to take care of these issues,&dquo; he said.