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Troubled Waters: News4 finds Nashville homes are now suddenly in a flood plain


People in one Nashville neighborhood are finding out that the homes they have lived in for decades are suddenly now in a flood plain.
Updated: Jan. 10, 2022 at 6:00 PM CST
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - People in one Nashville neighborhood are finding out that the homes they have lived in for decades are suddenly now in a flood plain.

Margaret and Michael Hausman have spent almost $100,000 on repairs to their Broadwell Drive between their water-logged living room and the flooded-out cars. Still, it’s the memory of that night in march that haunts them.

“I honestly was saying every prayer I knew,” Margaret Hausman said.

Margaret, then seven months pregnant, watched her husband carry their crying 4-year-old as they all waded through water waist-deep.

“I remember getting into the water. It was so cold, so, so cold,” Michael Hausman said.

They weren’t only shocked by the temperature. They said they were also shocked because their house, built in the 1960s, had never flooded before, not even back in the city-wide floods of 2010, even with a creek in the backyard.

If you look at the latest FEMA map from 2017, the home isn’t in a flood plain. So why are they flooding now? FEMA came in and studied the area.

News4 Investigates examined that new flood study. News4 found the Hausman’s property, and their neighbors are now considered to be in flood plains.

Residents are concerned illegally built homes may have caused the flooding just up the street. Metro Councilwoman Courtney Johnson confirmed something troubling.

The newly built homes on Trousdale had a permit to grade the land-based on the contractor’s own flood study. A study does not match what the newest FEMA maps show. Not only that, but the contractors went ahead and built the homes without any other necessary permits.

“This is a mess. It’s a mess for everyone,” Johnston said.

It’s unclear if the illegally built homes contributed to the flooding. Still, Johnston said the homes are proof of permitting problems. She’s now calling for a city-funded flood impact study.

“We can’t continue to allow stuff to happen that’s not a good idea just because we don’t have a process, or because we don’t have enough information to say, ‘This is not a good idea,’” Johnston said.

The Hausmans agree with Johnston.

“Whenever the growth of the city, development, takes precedent over public safety, that’s unacceptable,” Margaret Hausman said.

The builder, Rich Davis of BNA Development, has been fined $3,400. He was also issued a stop-work order. He will be required to bring the illegal homes into compliance.

In an interview, he told News4 Investigates he has an attorney and is working with the city. Beyond that, he had no comment.

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