Building next to Merrimon Avenue sinkhole posted as unsafe for occupancy

photo of sinkhole in parking lot in front of building
A sinkhole appeared in the parking lot at 1010 Merrimon Ave. on June 20.

Updated information, July 9:

The City of Asheville received confirmation that the sinkhole at 1010 Merrimon Ave. is definitely the jurisdiction of NC Department of Environmental Quality and the Army Corps of Engineers.

City staff has contacted both agencies to ensure they are aware of the situation.

On the City side, our Development Services staff continues to be in contact with the project engineer and property owner to permit a safe and viable solution.

 

Original post, June 27:

For safety reasons, the City of Asheville Development Services Department today posted the building at 1010 Merrimon Ave. as unsafe for occupancy. No one is allowed to enter this building.

 

There is a sinkhole at this location. A City inspector determined that the depth of the sinkhole has the potential for undermining the integrity of the building.

 

City staff were first made aware of the sinkhole at 1010 Merrimon Ave. when the Asheville Fire Department was called to the scene on June 20.

 

The sinkhole, which began at 12 feet wide, has now grown to an estimated 36 feet wide.

 

For the safety of our community, the building was posted as unsafe.

The Development Services Department has given the property owner the go-ahead to replace the pipe, advised them on design specifications and standards the City has, and notified the Army Corp of Engineers for them, as is necessary with piped streams.

 

Who maintains stormwater and underground pipes

 

This sinkhole is on private property. When the property was developed, the property owner installed a pipe to allow the stream to flow through this property underground. This pipe is on private property and therefore it is the property owner’s responsibility to maintain.

 

The City did not build storm infrastructure on this private property and the City does not maintain pipes on private property.

 

The City maintains the infrastructure within City-maintained right-of-way, including on City-owned property.

 

What you should do if you encounter a sinkhole

 

Be cautious, do not approach a sinkhole. If the sinkhole is in a public area, call the City’s non-emergency line at 828-252-1110.

If the sinkhole is on private property, secure your property. Contact a professional civil engineer to evaluate the issue and recommend a repair.