Violations issued by DEQ for Waynesville Golf project
Complaints by a neighbor about sediment in a creek have resulted in two notices of violation being issued to the new owners of the Waynesville Inn and Golf Club by the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.
The complaint was originally fielded by Town of Waynesville employees. Development services staff members Olga Grooman and Byron Hickox visited the site, observed turbidity and silt fence issues, and subsequently contacted DEQ.
South Carolina-based hospitality company Raines purchased the historic Waynesville Inn for nearly $9 million in early 2021. Raines then embarked on a substantial construction and rehabilitation project to freshen up the accommodations as well as rehab the 27-hole course.
On June 30, DEQ personnel inspected the project at the Waynesville Inn and Golf Club to assess compliance with both the North Carolina Sedimentation Pollution Control Act of 1973 (SPCA) and with the stormwater discharge permit issued pursuant to WGC’s land disturbance activities on a 20-acre tract.
What state inspectors found was that the installation of several protective measures had not been implemented, “resulting in sediment being trafficked offsite onto adjacent roadways and sedimentation being deposited in the receiving stream,” according to the notice of SPCA violation.
Also noted was the failure to maintain a buffer zone protecting the waterways.
Violations of the construction stormwater permit include the failure to develop or adhere to the erosion and sedimentation control (E&SC) plan. Per the notice, “Several sediment basins were not constructed as shown on the approved E&SC pIan.”
The SPCA violations may be subject to an initial one-day violation penalty of up to $5,000. If the violations of the SPCA are not corrected within 21 calendar days of receipt of the notice of violation by WGC, WGC could be fined up to $5,000 per day.
The E&SC violations could carry penalties of up to $25,000 per day.
The notice gives WGC 14 days to respond with a date by which corrective actions have been or will be completed, a plan to prevent future violations, a sediment removal plan and reasons why civil penalties should not be assessed.
New land-disturbing activity associated with the project cannot begin until the disturbed area becomes compliant with the conditions outlined in the SPCA and the permit.
A second notice of violation outlines largely similar instances of noncompliance on a 53-acre tract and provides for the same compliance and penalty procedures described in the first notice of violation.
Sediment is bad for a number of reasons,” said Preston Jacobsen, executive director of the Haywood Waterways Association. Haywood Waterways is a nonprofit dedicated to maintaining and improving surface water quality in the Pigeon River watershed. “As a property owner, you’re losing land. From a water quality or ecosystem perspective, it also does have a number of negative effects.”
Jacobsen said that although sedimentation does occur naturally, but when humans get involved, it’s worse, but it’s easier to spot.
“When we do see this increase in sediment, turbidity and suspended solids, anyone is able to identify, in some form or fashion, that source.”
David Tart, a WGC official named in the violations, has not returned multiple requests for comment from SMN.