Moore County judge rules for breach of Woodlake Dam
Posted March 15
Vass, N.C. — A Moore County judge ordered Wednesday that the owners of Woodlake Dam breach it.
The judge's decision to keep the water out of the lake is bad news for the property owners, but good news for those who live downstream.
Right now, the lake at Woodlake is about dry, and property values are not what they used to be.
"There are guys who have homes that are worth, well were worth, more than a million dollars. No more," said John Misiaszek, who owns a home nearby.
The consent judgment signed Wednesday by Superior Court Judge James Webb does little to help the homeowners or their property values. It was designed to protect residents downstream in case of a major breach if the lake was full.
"It has a mechanism for us to monitor it more closely," said Bridget Munger, a state public affairs officer. "It's an order signed by a superior court judge and hopefully it will not have to return to this courthouse."
The judgment calls for Woodlake CC Corporation, the owners of the dam, to temporarily breach it. It sets forth an aggressive timeline for the action to be taken.
It requires the owners to make weekly status updates on the progress of their work beginning April 4, and calls for the initial repairs to begin by May 14.
People who live in the area are skeptical as to whether or not the agreement will make a difference.
"My hope is this corporation will be going into Chapter 7, and it will be sold to somebody else to develop the place. Save our community, save our property value and save our lake," said Lou Mason, who owns a home nearby.
The judge on Wednesday said that if owners do not comply with the orders, someone could go to jail.
"Somebody should have gone to jail long time ago," Mason said. "I would have been in jail. If someone gave me an order to do something, I would have done it."
The owners said they will comply with the order and rebuild the dam to allow the lake to refill.