Archived News

Haywood County prepares for slope ordinance by hiring engineer

Slope development regulations will go into effect in Haywood County on March 1.


The slope ordinance requires developers to hire an engineer to certify the stability of cut-and-fill slopes above a certain threshold. The threshold that triggers oversight was relaxed substantially by the commissioners after they were lobbied by the real estate and development industry.

Commissioner pledged to revisit the threshold and tighten it up if it proves too loose to ensure mountainside development is being done safely and properly.

Commissioner Larry Ammons suggested a report every 90 days from the county planning office on whether the ordinance is working.

“If we see a pattern start to develop as we monitor this every three months, we may need to tighten that thing up a little bit,” Ammons said. “It may work fine this way, but if it isn’t we want to zero our sights in on this thing and get it closer to what we hoped to accomplish when we started this.”

Related Items

To oversee the ordinance, the county is hiring a licensed engineer with a salary range around $60,000 to $70,000 to work in the planning office to review development plans that exceed the slope threshold in the ordinance. The county is also looking for applicants for an engineer review board — a spectrum including citizens mindful of mountainside development as well as specific roles like a surveyor and an engineer. The volunteer board will meet once a month to review slope development plans.

Haywood is the first county west of Asheville to implement slope development regulations, but additional counties could be close behind. Jackson County commissioners have instructed their planning board to start working on a slope development ordinance. Macon County’s planning board wrote a slope ordinance last year, but final approval by the commissioners has temporarily stalled. Swain County commissioners have indicated they want to appoint a planning board to write a slope development ordinance sometime soon as well.

Anyone interested in applying for the county engineer job or the engineer review board should call the county office at 828.452.6625 for an application.

— By Becky Johnson

Leave a comment

Smokey Mountain News Logo
Go to top
Payment Information


At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.