House Move Ends Ordeal, County Moves Closer to New Landfill

Jason Sandford
July 26, 1995 12:15 am

Carolyn Gunter will watch this week as a house moving company literally uproots the 31-year-old home her father built in northern Buncombe County and moves it to make way for a new county landfill.

“It’s been emotional. I’m glad it’s soon going to be over with,” Gunter said recently as she stood outside the Murray DeBruhl Road house. The road is named after Gunter’s father.

The house-moving will mark the end of Gunter’s personal saga and another chapter in the county’s nearly five-year quest to get a landfill built in the Alexander community. The county must be out of its landfill, also in the county’s north end on N.C. 251, by October 1996, according to County Manager Bill McElrath.

The 557-acre land tract commissioners have chosen for the new dump is off Murray DeBruhl Road near the Madison County line.

Gunter and her husband, O.C. Gunter, took ownership of the three-bedroom house and a 46-acre tract of land in 1988. The Gunter’s began renting the house.

Carolyn Gunter said she remembers her father, a carpenter, building the house. She especially recalls a bedroom paneled with pine harvested from the property. The land and house “was something I thought I could always keep because I was raised here,” she said.

But in 1990, commissioners decided to put the county’s new landfill in Alexander. After the initial announcement, commissioners went back and reviewed their decision, chose the Alexander site again and began planning a landfill. In the summer of 1994, state officials finally told commissioners that the site was suitable for a landfill to be built.

McElrath said the county expects approval of its landfill construction permit “any time now” so workers can begin building the new dump.

The county bought the Gunter’s property in April. “We hated to have to move the house,” O.C. Gunter said.

The county has spent $2.1 million to buy out 19 property holders at the landfill site, according to County Attorney Joe Connolly. The county has yet to settle with about a dozen other property owners, Connolly said, including Champion International Corp. Champion, which owns about 211 acres, is the biggest landowner at the site, Connolly said.

Carolyn Gunter said the county has negotiated in good faith.

“At first, everybody was just at each other’s throat. But they’ve not hollered and shouted and cussed at us. It was as pleasant as they could make it,” she said.

Dennis Hensley, supervising the house moving for Fairview-based Crouch Mitch House Moving Co., said his crew has been working about five days to get the brick home ready to move.

Workers finished chipping away the house’s cinder block foundation Monday and plan to move the house about a mile to its new Flint Hill Road location Wednesday.