Chapel Hill searches for ways to keep floodwaters at bay
Posted January 1, 2016
Chapel Hill, N.C. — As residents of a Chapel Hill apartment complex clean up from a Wednesday flood, town leaders are discussing how to prevent high water from damaging the area again.
Flooding from Bolin Creek caused about $39,000 in property damage – the total doesn't reflect losses to personal property – and displaced about three dozen residents from the Camelot Village Apartments and neighboring Brookwood Condominiums.
"I am counting my blessings big time," Camelot Village resident Angela Jones said Friday, noting that her apartment wasn't damaged. "It came very close from the debris ... in front of my door."
The area is prone to flooding. In 2013, 119 units in the two complexes were condemned because of flood damage.
Chapel Hill has tried to acquire the privately owned land since 2008 and turn the area into open greenspace, but the owners have refused to sell it, officials said.
"I guess it's the mighty dollar that they are thinking about, thinking about themselves and getting rent every month instead of caring about the people who live here," resident Jamie West said.
Mayor Pam Hemminger said she has met with other Chapel Hill officials to come up with new plan for the property.
"We need to figure out a better solution for this," Hemminger said. "We're going to have to reach out to those landowners again and see if there is something more permanent that we can do."
Options could include a stormwater retention pond or a berm to keep the water away from the residences.
"They really need to find some way to combat the problem," Jones said.