Owners don't want to sell flood prone Chapel Hill condos
Posted November 27, 2013
Chapel Hill, N.C. — Things aren’t back to normal in Camelot Village condominiums following a June flood, but it’s better.
Repairs are underway in many of the damaged units, including the one where Billy Hayes used to live.
“I lost everything but four bins – three of paper and one of clothes,” he said.
The loss of home and property worries Chapel Hill Deputy Fire Chief Robert Bosworth because it keeps happening at Camelot Village. The complex is located in what he calls a repetitive area, meaning it's flood prone.
“Owners and renters at Camelot will see high waters again,” Bosworth warns.
That's why the state and the Town of Chapel Hill want to buy out the owners and possibly turn the complex into green space or a park.
“We sent letters to the owners. We gave them about two weeks and ended up with about 25 percent responding,” Bosworth said.
The response from some of that small percentage was anything but positive.
“We have had some people contact us and say they are not interested in selling and not to contact them again,” Bosworth said.
Hayes has an idea why many landlords don’t want to get rid of their properties despite the headache a flood can cause.
“It’s an investment,” he said. “And they just don’t want to lose out like that.”
This isn't the first time the town tried to gain control of the property. In 2009, authorities had federal money to offer in the buyout, but they were unsuccessful. The town doesn’t have eminent domain powers, so city leaders can’t buy up the land without permission.
Bosworth says the town will keep trying.
“We will always try to help the people who want to help,” he said.