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Fayetteville Residents, City Differ on Who Should Pay for Repairs to Dams

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FAYETTEVILLE — Three badly damaged dams in Fayetteville need to be fixed. The city wants homeowners to foot some, if not all, of the bill. Homeowners say they should not fix something that does not belong to them.

The three dams are Mirror Lake Dam on Mirror Lake Drive, Devonwood Lower Dam on McFayden Drive and The Lakes Dam on East Loch Haven Drive. All are off Morganton Road.

Courtesy: Fayetteville Observer

Lakes Dam, like two other dams in question, run underneath city streets. For that reason, most homeowners say the city should pay to fix the dams instead of them.

"We are not going to do it, it's that simple," says Carl Barrington, who has lived on Mirror Lake for 22 years.

Barrington and his neighbors love where they live, but they do not think they should have to pay some, or all, of the $133,000 price tag to fix the Mirror Lake Dam.

"This homeowner is not going to pay for repairs to the lake or to the dam because this homeowner doesn't own the dam," says Barrington.

The city is now considering asking the people who live along the water to pay for state-mandated repairs at the three dams.

City attorney Bob Cogswell says the city has gotten nowhere with the people listed in tax records as the owners. He says asking homeowners to pay the bill seems only right.

"They get a benefit. Their taxes receive a benefit from having the lake there," says Cogswell.

Even so, Barrington says his neighborhood unanimously agreed to file suit against the city if they are asked to chip in.

Barrington says the city paid for dam repairs after the 1989 flood. Why not take responsibility again now?

In the Devonwood neighborhood, most residents feel the same way. Becky Avent believes the city owns the dam and should pay for the $117,000 in repairs.

"The city street is the dam. So therefore, if they take out the dam, they don't have a street," she says.

Dozens of homeowners attended a city council meeting Monday night, saying they should not have to pay for city property. The city council decided to delay a decision for 30 days. Staff recommendation is for the city to pay one-third and homeowners to pay two-thirds. However, the council could decide on another percentage, or members could agree to pay the entire cost. -->