305 Properties Eligible For Buyout Program 6-22-2010 - WSMV Channel 4

305 Properties Eligible For Buyout Program 6-22-2010

Metro Water Services has listed an initial 305 properties that are eligible for a Hazard Mitigation Home Buyout program.

Related: Watch This Story | Special Section: Fatal Floods | Video | List Of Homes On Flood Buyout List (pdf)

The voluntary program is meant to lessen the amount of structures in dangerous areas that were affected by the May 2 floods. A combination of federal, state and local funds will pay for the homes that are bought through the buyout program.
Metro Water said that program eligibility letters were sent out Tuesday to the owners of the properties. Those property owners will also get a letter of interest, prepaid envelope and a frequently asked questions list. The letters should be returned by Aug. 1.
One of the property owners who expects to get a buy-out offer is Bill Benson, whose Pennington Bend Drive home was flooded.
"We had about two feet of water in the first floor, so the garage, and the utility room and the bonus room were all flooded and we had to replace the drywall and take that kind of stuff out," Benson said.
Benson says he's glad to hear about the buy-out program.
"Some people here may or may not take it, but it's nice to have that option for us," Benson said.
The homeowners getting buy-out offers are scattered throughout Nashville, in areas including Delmar Drive in west Nashville, Whites Creek, Pennington Bend, and Buena Vista.
Property owners can't be forced to sell for hazard mitigation purposes. A letter of interest doesn't commit the owner to selling the property.
Properties were chosen because of their floodplain location and damage suffered during the flood. Homes in a floodway, which is the most dangerous part of a floodplain, that were damaged more than 50 percent of their appraised value were given priority.
The Tennessee and Federal Emergency Management Agencies estimated that the purchase money will be available in one to two years, but there is federal assistance for homeowners who are waiting for a buyout. The deadline to apply for that assistance, by calling 1-800-621-FEMA or going to www.DisasterAssistance.gov , is July 6.
The acquired properties will be cleared and forever kept as open space. The property can be used by Metro government for public parks or wildlife refuges but can't be resold to private individuals or be developed.
"We selected the homes that are most at risk of being substantially damaged in a future flood and would be the most difficult to rebuild based on the requirements of our Stormwater Code," said Metro Water Services Director Scott Potter. "Other considerations, including repetitive flooding in an area, the topography and the observed pattern of water flow from the recent flood, were also taken into account."
The Stormwater Code requires a property's first floor is at least 4 feet above the 100-year flood level.
Community meetings have been scheduled from 6-8 p.m. at four locations for homeowners to learn more about the buyout program:
W.A. Bass Middle School 5200 Delaware Avenue Road Monday, June 28
Isaiah T. Creswell Middle Arts Magnet School 3500 John Mallette Drive Tuesday, June 29
Dupont Tyler Middle School 431 Tyler Drive Wednesday, June 30
Apollo Middle School 631 Richards Road Thursday, July 1
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