City offers help for repeatedly flooded properties

This map shows the home on Marguerite Park Drive, near Silas Creek, the City Council voted to acquire because it has experienced repeated severe flooding.

City offers help for repeatedly flooded properties
October 18
05:00 2018

The City Council approved the acquisition of a home that has been repeatedly flooded, one of several properties in flood plains the city has acquired using federal grants.

With the remnants of two hurricanes hitting Winston-Salem in a matter of weeks, heavy rains have caused flooding in various parts of the city. But for some properties, flooding can be a regular occurrence. There’s more than 18,000 acres of mapped flood plains in the county, which accounts for seven percent of its total land area. Current regulations say that new buildings in these areas must be elevated one foot above the base flood level and protected from potential flood damage.

Buildings that were built before those requirements do not have such protection. That’s where the FEMA Severe Repetitive Flood Claims grants come in. They let local municipalities purchase the properties and make sure they’re not built upon again.

Keith Huff, the city’s director of Stormwater/Erosion Control, said residents will contact them about their properties and the city applies for the grant. He said the most viable applications involve the  “worst of the worst” flood-ravaged properties.

“The most probable candidates are the severe repetitive-loss properties, meaning they have a number of claims on their flood insurance policies and the cost-benefit of their project is very compelling to FEMA,” said Huff.

The property the council voted to purchase on Monday contains a house at the end of Marguerite Park Drive with Silas Creek to its east and one of the creek’s tributaries to its south.

Huff said the house has had structural flooding in the crawl space, damaging the house’s ductwork and HVAC and sometimes reaching the finished floor of its inhabited spaces.

The grant covers the acquisition of the property for its fair market value of $170,000 minus any duplication of benefits that it received from prior FEMA claims. The grant also covers 100 percent of the demolition and placing deeded restrictions to prevent further development on the parcel.

The city previously purchased the neighboring property next door with a grant from the same FEMA program. Robert Clark, who represents the West Ward where the properties are located, directed staff to look into combining the two properties and turning them into a passive pocket park, which would be an allowed use under the restrictions put on the land.

For more information, contact the Stormwater/Erosion Control Department at (336) 747-7480.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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