News - High Rock Lake articles

Land Trust gets grant for Alcoa Land Purchase

Salisbury Post,  Resources Commission must acquire the 2,300 acres along High Rock Lake by September to move forward with fundraising for the remaining 2,400 ... Read more

Florence Impact on High Rock Lake

Major Relief on Pier Repair Permitting

Cube Hydro Requirements

High Rock Lake Articles

Florence’s Impact on High Rock Lake by Larry O. Jones


Considering the disastrous flooding caused by the hurricane, High Rock Lake fared very well. Cube Yadkin used an abundance of caution by drawing High Rock down more than 6 feet below full prior to the storms arrival in this area. River, stream, and runoff flows into High Rock Lake reached an estimated 60,000 cu.ft./sec. This flow, although very high, is only about 12% of the maximum flow the flood gates on High Rock Dam can handle. That’s why FEMA flood zone maps show most waterfront property around High Rock as having a worst-case probability of rising only about 1-2ft. above normal full pool elevation 623.9 USGS (655.0 Yadkin Datum). The Lake came up to 623.6 (654.7 YD) Tuesday after the storm had passed, about 4” below full pond.


The Yadkin River at Yadkin College reached a peak flow of 33,100 cfs at 8:00 AM Tuesday, September 18, 2018, rising 2.82’ above the gage level of 18’ that the USGS has designated “Minor Flood Stage”. That flow brought a lot of debris, floating logs, stumps etc. into the lake, but the water velocity carried a lot of this on toward the dam. Wednesday morning (9-19-2018) the lake was 6” below full, beautiful, silky smooth, and no trash in sight on the main channel.


If the flow rates in “cubic feet per second” (cfs) don’t mean much to you, the maximum inflow into High Rock was about 450,000 gallons per second, or 38.8 billion gallons per day on the 18th. It’s also interesting to note the highest recorded Yadkin River at Yadkin College flow was 80,200 cfs, 33.75’ on gage, on Aug. 15, 1940. The Yadkin College flow station is on the Yadkin River’s west shore just south of the US Hwy 64 bridge in Davidson County.


Major Relief on Pier Repair Permitting - 9.10.18


Cube Yadkin will no longer require a permit for repairs you or your contractor make to your pier or boathouse as long as the repair is “like-for-like”.  Here’s how it happened:


In January 2018 the High Rock Lake Association (HRLA) began receiving a lot of conversation and complaints about permits and penalties arising from pier maintenance.

The HRLA learned that Cube Yadkin met with Inspection Department officials of the five counties that surround the Yadkin Project 

in early 2018.  After that meeting, Cube Yadkin posted a guidance document covering Cube Yadkin permit requirements along 

with a new schedule of permit fees.  Cube Yadkin management also made clear that assertive enforcement would be used on 

Badin and High Rock to deal with violations of the SMP and permitting policy. 

The multitude of complaints the HRLA received in early 2018 convinced the HRLA Board to get involved in finding a solution to the problems our members (and non-members) were facing.

Mr. Todd Yates, a Davidson County Commissioner and a member of the HRLA Board arranged a meeting with NC Department of Insurance (NCDOI) Commissioner Mike Causey. Commissioner Causey directed his engineering staff to work with the HRLA to get a full understanding of the code interpretations and permitting procedures. After reviewing our concerns, the NCDOI staff concluded that a lot of commercial code standards were being applied to piers for single family dwellings. Rather than issue interpretation and clarification documents, NCDOI wisely chose to issue a new NC Residential Code, effective July 1, 2018 that is very clear and concise with respect to standards for piers and docks associated with single or two family private dwellings.


Section R327 of the 2018 North Carolina Residential Code provides a defined set of parameters (limitations) for docks and piers that are exempt from the North Carolina Residential Code and the North Carolina Building Code. According to NCDOI, a property owner planning a structure that does not exceed the limitations may submit certification to the County CEO and a County Building Permit will not be required.


In addition to issuing the 2018 North Carolina Residential Code, NCDOI has issued a Guidance Document to all North Carolina County Inspection Departments providing very direct and clear answers to the questions the HRLA submitted to NCDOI in April 2018. That document, dated June 25, 2018 addresses the permit exemptions, and other issues, including:


·        No County permit required for repairs on piers meeting R327 limitations

·        No County permit required for repairs on piers when cost of work is less than $15,000.00 and does not involve repair to the load bearing structural components. Railings and decking are not classified as a structural component.

·        NC Residential Code does not require handrails or guardrails on piers meeting R327 limitations.

·        Replacement of ramp hinge assembly hardware and bolts does not constitute a “repair of load bearing structure” and does not require a County permit unless cost exceeds $15,000.00

·        Handicap Accessibility requirements of the NC Building Code do not apply to any private waterway structure associated with one or two-family dwellings.

HRLA Officers met with Davidson County Officials in August to review these changes. Davidson Officials acknowledged the Code changes make a significant change in their approach to Pier Permits and inspections and agree that when pier construction or repair is in accordance with the Residential Code exemptions and NCDOI Guidelines, the County will not require a building Permit or conduct inspections. The lakeside property owner or contractor will fill out an “Exemption Form”, available at county inspection departments or the HRLA website, certify the exemptions, and leave the form with the county inspection office.


Davidson’s Code Enforcement Officer expressed a concern that he believes some people will want a County Building Permit and Inspection of their pier/dock.  If that’s your case, you can retain the services of a licensed engineer or architect, have them to prepare a set of signed design documents, present these documents to the County office, pay their permit fee, and Davidson County will issue a building Permit, inspect, and issue a certificate of completion.


The HRLA asked to meet with Rowan County officials, but the county declined. The HRLA believes Rowan will operate in generally the same manner as Davidson.


HRLA Board members met with Cube Yadkin staff in mid-August to review changes to the Building Code, changes in COE procedures, and the effect of these changes to the Cube Yadkin permitting procedures put in place in January 2018.


In late August Cube Yadkin responded to the HRLA concerns in a very positive manner. Cube Yadkin rescinded the January 2018 Permit Requirement table (three columns) and posted a revised Table of Requirements for Permits (dated August 28, 2018).


Cube Yadkin will no longer require a permit for repairs to your pier or boathouse as long as the repair is “like-for-like”.  This is Cube Yadkin’s term for repairs to your facility that does not modify, alter, or change the facility.   See Cube’s Permit Table at end of article or at Permit_Table


All new work within the scope of the Shoreline Management Plan will continue to require an application to Cube Yadkin and approved permit before you commence any activity.


All electrical, mechanical, or plumbing work requires a County Building Permit; and a Cube Yadkin Permit if within the Cube Yadkin area of control.


We believe the cooperative effort by the HRLA and NCDOI provides great benefit to lakefront property owners, not just at High Rock but throughout North Carolina.


Excerpt from 2018 NC Residential Building Code



R327.1 General.

Docks, piers. bulkheads and waterway structures shall be constructed in accordance with Chapter 36 of the North Carolina Building Code.

Exception: Structures complying with the following are not required to meet the provisions of Chapter 36 of the North Carolina Building Code or this code.

1.              Fixed piers associated with a one- or two- family dwelling meeting all of the following:

1.1.     A maximum of four boat slips for a single owner of a one- or two- family dwelling or two adjacent, riparian owners.          

1.2.     A maximum height of 15 feet measured from deck to mud line at any location along the pier.

1.3.     A maximum normal pool depth of 13 feet on lakes and ponds and a maximum mean low water depth of 7 feet in other locations.

1.4.     A maximum walkway width of 6 feet

1.5.     A maximum pile spacing of 8 feet in both directions.

1.6.     A maximum of 576 sq. ft. for non-walkway areas

1.7.     A maximum boat slip length of 40 feet

1.8.     A maximum roofed area of 576 sq. ft. with an additional maximum 2-foot overhang.

1.9.     Constructed with no enclosed or multilevel structures.

1.10. Supports a boatlift with a maximum design capacity no greater than 16,000 pounds.


2.              Floating docks associated with a one- or two- family dwelling meeting all of the following:

2.1.     A maximum of four boat slips for a single owner of a one- or two- family dwelling or two adjacent, riparian owners

2.2.     A maximum normal pool depth of 20 feet for docks with guide piles on lakes and ponds and a maximum mean low water of 10 feet for docks with guide piles in other locations.

2.3.     A maximum boat slip length of 40 feet

2.4.     Finger piers, crosswalks or other floating surfaces having a minimum width of 3 feet wide to a maximum of 6 feet (1829 mm) wide, except for a single 8-foot x 16-foot section.

2.5.     When constructed with a roof the following conditions exist:

                                                  i.      Ultimate design wind speed is 115 mph or less:

                                                 ii.     Roof load is 20 psf or less:

                                               iii.      A maximum eave height of 10 feet

                                               iv.     A maximum roof slope of 4:12;

                                                 v.     A maximum roofed area of 576 sq. ft. with an additional maximum 2-foot (610 mm) overhang:

                                               vi.     A minimum boat slip width of 12 feet

                                              vii.      A minimum floating dock width of 4 feet along both sides of the boat slip;

                                            viii.     A maximum dead load of 12 psf

                                               ix.      Floating structures supporting roof structures are balanced or anchored to reduce the possibility of tipping.

2.6             Constructed with no enclosed or multilevel structures.

2.7             Supports a boat lift with a maximum design capacity no greater than 16,000 pounds.



 High Rock Lake Articles

2018 articles

Salisbury Post 2/21/2018

By Andie Foley

SALISBURY — As members of the Growing Rowan marketing team spoke during Monday’s county commissioners meeting, one sentiment rang clear.

Rowan County residents are the county’s worst critics, said the team. Its goal is to change that perception. Read more 

2016 articles

Salisbury Post 9/23/2016

By Josh Bergeron

SALISBURY — After years of trying, Alcoa has received a federal operating license for its dams on the Yadkin River.

Issued Thursday, the license lasts until March 31, 2055. It comes after nearly a decade of legal battles with state and local governments. Previously, the dams were used to power Badin Works, an aluminum smelter that no longer operates. Read more 

Salisbury Post 12/5/2016

By Josh Bergeron

By Josh BergeronWhen federal regulators granted a long-term operating license to Alcoa in October, the LandTrust for Central North Carolina leapt into action.

Now, the LandTrust is in the first stages of an effort to raise millions of dollars to conserve 4,700 acres of land held by Alcoa. Read more


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