Waterfall for sale: Maggie Valley now taking highest bidder

·3 min read

May 17—MAGGIE VALLEY — Maggie Valley may soon be done with the waterfall saga that's been a source of controversy for the town for over a decade.

The waterfall property off of Old Still Road is being sold, with a volley of upset bids potentially coming to a close soon.

"It looks like we're close to the end of it," Maggie Valley Mayor Mike Eveland said. "After this sale, it'll be out of our hands. I think it will be good for someone to be able to utilize it."

The town is in the midst of an upset bidding process to sell the property. The bid is currently $275,000 and could grow even more since there's still time for more potential bids to come in.

Town officials say they hope the town has the process done this month.

The town acquired the property in 2002 when it agreed to annex the Villa L'Abi subdivision. The property was part of an area donated to the town in exchange for Maggie Valley taking over the subdivisions sewer pump station.

Maggie Valley Director of Public Works Mike Mehaffey said that a few years after the land was acquired, the town changed it from a pump station to a gravity sewer system.

"Pump stations are more of a liability for us," he said.

With the original vote, the town agreed to give homeowners in the subdivision the first right of refusal if the town was to sell the property at market value.

When the town took over, there were walkways and into a waterfall on the property. However, these walkways were in disrepair. The town's insurance representative didn't like the conditions.

"Their recommendation was to close it off," Mehaffey said. "We did. We posted it, put signs up and put a barricade up so people couldn't get up there."

In June 2020, the board of aldermen decided to pay $70,000 for a study to see if it would be possible to setup a park in the area of the waterfall. Eveland said the cost estimate for needed upgrades was $700,000.

"Conceptually, it's a good idea, but actually making it happen and the cost of it doesn't work," Mehaffey said.

The estimate was closer to $500,000 but putting bathrooms in would have added that extra $200,000. Issues over insurance prices were also a concern at the time.

"I can't imagine what the insurance would be with having a public waterfall," Eveland said.

Around this same time there was heavy opposition from homeowners in the area. Getting to the waterfall required using a private road and there was almost no room for parking.

"It's a beautiful waterfall," Eveland said. "But there's no access to it. You can't park. They were going to have to go into the side of the mountain to put in parking."

The trails that were planned to be put in would have also come very close to private property, which would have caused more issues.

At that point, the town stepped away from the idea.

In July of 2022, the town went through a similar bidding process and accepted a $190,000 offer. There were no upset bids and in September, the town decided to finish up the sale, but things did not end there as another bump in the road was hit with the waterfall property.

The land was originally for a development and the deed said the land was common area, meaning it was available for use for all tenants. This caused the original bidders to back out while the town's lawyers got the deed cleared, alleviating any issues, according to Eveland.

Now, the land has been put back up for upset bids that are still taking place at this point, with bidders having a 10-day period to make new offers once they have been surpassed.

"Hopefully, sometime in the next few weeks, it'll come to whatever it does," Eveland said. "After that, it is just paperwork."