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The Daily Tar Heel

Flooding causes persistent damage to South Estes Drive

The UNC women's tennis team competed against Elon University on Sunday afternoon.
The UNC women's tennis team competed against Elon University on Sunday afternoon.

“They put me in a motel until Monday,” West said. “But I am now staying anywhere I can.”

After staying in a motel until Jan. 4, West has still not been able to assess the damage in his rented unit, but said the damage costs will come out of his own pocket.

As the water retreated, the Town of Chapel Hill public safety teams allowed residents of Camelot Village and Brookwood Condominiums on South Estes Drive back into their homes, but some of the Camelot apartments, like West’s, were uninhabitable.

Thomas Whisnant, homeowners association manager at Brookwood Apartments, said residents of Brookwood Condominiums did not have damage to their homes, but many of the cars in the parking lot were affected.

Whisnant said 61 units of the property were inaccessible to the residents and they were advised to stay in their homes and no one was allowed to drive in the area.

“The fire department was very helpful in getting people in and out of their homes with their new emergency rescue vehicle,” Whisnant said.

Whisnant said neighbors called one another to see if anyone in the area needed help. He said the damages to the property only came out to about $3,000 for landscaping and debris clean-up.

Don Willhoit, president of the homeowners association at Camelot Village, said this area has faced many issues with flooding in the past.

This flood caused the least amount of damage of the four floods since 2000, affecting only 20 units, but the association hopes to find a solution.

Previous floods produced much more damage, affecting 60 units in July of 2000, 21 units in October of 2008, and 72 units in June of 2013.

“The Camelot Village Homeowners Association believes that some floods, such as the recent one, could be alleviated by improving the water flow downstream from Camelot,” Willhoit said. “The culvert under Fordham Boulevard does not appear to be of sufficient capacity and acts as a dam, causing water to back up towards Franklin Street.”

Willhoit said in a statement that there are several owners in certain buildings who are willing to discuss a town buy-out and mitigation of the flood impacts.

Willhoit said the property’s building B, specifically, is set in the path of running water from Bolin Creek, and when the water level rises, it is the first to be affected.

West, a resident of building B, said when he was told he could reenter his apartment, there were dryers on the ground, attempting to dry up the carpet.

He is still unsure of what was damaged in his home and how much the damages will cost him.

Willhoit is hopeful the residents of Camelot Village will see developments to the property in the upcoming years to help minimize future damage.

“We hope that improvements can be made to the Fordham Boulevard culvert and that development upstream can be designed to minimize the rate of runoff of storm water,” Willhoit said. “In the meantime, we look forward to working with the town on the acquisition of those building most at risk.”


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