Fayetteville residents frustrated over dam repair plans

Wednesday, August 2, 2017
Fayetteville dam repair - who is going to pay?
EMBED <>More Videos

Fayetteville officials heard from frustrated residents Friday.

FAYETTEVILLE, North Carolina (WTVD) -- Fayetteville homeowners who live around lakes that were drained after dams failed during Hurricane Matthew are facing off with city leaders.

Stay on top of breaking news stories with the ABC11 News App

The city is offering to repair those dams - and then send the residents a bill.

It all boils down to a matter of money. The city says public funds can't legally be used to repair privately owned dams; in this case, neighborhood dams damaged by Matthew.

Residents around those private dams don't like what they are hearing from City Hall.

Angry Fayetteville residents say city leaders are leaving them marooned with busted dams and grass where there used to be water.

"They annexed us, they charge us all these taxes, now that we need them it, seems they are letting us down," said Derrick Thompson of the Rayconda Homeowners Board.

Matthew's heavy floods washed out numerous dams in the city. Others were breached for safety. Few have been repaired.

Becky Pettit and other residents are beginning to think about doing something else with the overgrown lake bed.

"We can't help what happened," said Pettit, a Lake View resident. "There has been talk about something like a park for the kids to come and play, so I don't know what's going to happen."

In a series of public meetings, local officials are telling residents the city will pay to repair dams on two city-owned lakes. The city is also offering to repair privately owned dams if residents agree to a financing assessment charge over a period of years.

Residents we talked with don't like the deal.

"So we are literally losing our back yards to this," resident Lindsey Smith said. "The city maintains these, they are their responsibility, and nothing is being done about it."

Many lake-side residents say their property values are sinking as the grass and weeds grow taller in what used to be their little piece of paradise.

More meetings and discussions are planned for next week. Meanwhile, some skeptical residents say they are pondering legal action against the city.