Local News

Dozens of Chapel Hill residences condemned after flooding

Posted July 2, 2013
Updated July 3, 2013

— Orange County officials declared a state of emergency Tuesday as the Chapel Hill area copes with the aftermath of flash flooding late Sunday.

Local damage assessment teams continued to make the rounds of neighborhoods inundated by an estimated 4.66 inches of rain Sunday, which sent area creeks out of their banks. State officials planned to visit Chapel Hill Wednesday to determine whether any locations qualify for disaster recovery assistance.

Already, 68 units in the Camelot Village Condominiums complex, on South Estes Drive, and another 22 units in the Booker Creek Townhome Apartments complex, on Booker Creek Drive, have been condemned. Officials found another 51 units in the Brookwood Condominiums complex, also on Estes Drive, that were damaged by water.

The emergency declaration coordinates local efforts to respond to the flooding, from providing public health nurses and social workers to assist at a local Red Cross shelter to taking in the pets of displaced residents.

Homeowners battled against continued rain Tuesday as they tried to clean up and dry out from the flood waters.

"My God, I couldn't believe the damage was that extensive," Helen Rubinstein said about the 8 inches of water that rushed into the first floor of her unit at the Village Green Condominiums, on Elizabeth Street.

Officials found that about 40 units in the complex sustained water damage.

Chapel Hill State damage assessment teams to visit Chapel Hill Wednesday

Although crews had ripped up Rubinstein's carpet and linoleum, cut out large sections of damaged drywall and installed dehumidifiers and fans, she said she planned to stay on the second floor of her condo.

Other residents in the complex said they were going to stay at hotels until repairs were done.

"Most of our furniture is probably lost," resident Caroline McCarty said, noting that her renter's insurance doesn't cover flood damage.

"Our neighbors have been wonderful, feeding us and sheltering us," she said.

Elkin Salinas, a graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said he's used to living in a sparsely furnished apartment. But like McCarty, he had to pitch much of his furniture outside because of water damage.

"I should be in class, (but) this is priority," Salinas said as he cleaned up flood damage.

In addition to Village Green, local officials examined damage Tuesday around University Mall, the Stratford Hills Apartments complex, on Bolinwood Drive, and the Brookside Apartments complex, on Brookside Drive.


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  • soulcandy Jul 3, 2013

    "Well the greedy politicians want the tax revenue so they approve this stuff."

    There's a solution for that you know, stop voting them into office!! And hold them accountable while they are there. Unfortunately you have keep reminding them who they work for. Not necessarily the ones that pay their bills.....

  • chrisnrali Jul 3, 2013

    "so they won't know which areas are more prone to flooding. "
    unless they are legally blind, common sense should tell you that certain low lying areas could flood. So, don't live there.

  • Pooter McGooter Jul 3, 2013

    Who is condemning the residence of chapel hill? It is not their fault that it has rained so much. It doesn't make any sense.

  • momcat49 Jul 3, 2013

    I lived in Camelot Apartments (as they were then) from June of 1971 until the fall of 1979 in an end unit near the creek. I had at one time a picture of myself standing in the middle of the parking lot with water up to my knees. The flood water came up to my doorstep, and I had mud coming into my bathtub through the drain. You would have thought this would have been useful information imparted to those who bought these units after they became condominiums!

  • publicassistance Jul 3, 2013

    "Building inspectors have condemned most of Camelot and a lot of homes elsewhere. Many cannot be rebuilt under current rules." - unc70

    This might be an opportunity for CH to be rid of that eyesore Camelot village. They have deteriorated over the years and are repeatedly flooded. Crime has risen there and they stay in a state of disrepair. Time for them to be removed.

    Even Brookwood should never have been build down on the floodplain. It floods all the time as well...

  • matt_wood Jul 3, 2013

    "Froggygirl, why do you specifically mention "students" in your post?"

    I think her point was that the majority of the students are not local, so they won't know which areas are more prone to flooding.

    "Well the greedy politicians want the tax revenue so they approve this stuff."

    Just like they're about to approve a bill that would remove the restriction of installing landfills in flood plains. Just imagine how horrible floods in those areas will be...

  • BlahBlahBlahBlahBlah Jul 3, 2013

    Stay safe my beloved Tarheels, Wolfpack, and Blue Devils..

  • unc70 Jul 2, 2013

    Back hen Camelot was built as apartments (now mostly condos), the official floodplain maps looked really different than now. Almost all such maps for NC greatly underestimated the threats. Remember how wrong they were with Hurricane Floyd? Plus changes way upstream can cause faster runoff.

    Building inspectors have condemned most of Camelot and a lot of homes elsewhere. Many cannot be rebuilt under current rules. Orange County has been declared a disaster area. With luck, some of these areas can qualify under Federal programs to buyout or relocate people from flood-prone areas.

    This flooding was the worst I've seen in CH the last 50 years. 2-4 feet higher near Camelot. Other areas that have never flooded before -- Granville Towers, homes near the top of hills but lower than the rest of the "top".

    This is not about greedy politicians wanting the revenue. Floods impose huge costs on gov and individuals.

  • Pulling for the Tarheels Jul 2, 2013

    Froggygirl, why do you specifically mention "students" in your post?

  • beaupeep Jul 2, 2013

    Well they can add "no free flood insurance" to their Moral Monday agenda.