Metro to buy homes through federal flood program

Monday, November 29, 2010 at 1:25pm
Staff reports

Metro officials are prepared to begin closing on the purchase of 81 homes eligible for the city’s flood buyout program.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency on Monday awarded Metro $7 million to execute the first phase of a voluntary Hazard Mitigation Home Buyout program, which seeks to purchase and tear down houses most susceptible to future flooding.

The first round of houses are in parts of west Nashville near Delray Drive and north Nashville near West Hamilton Road, two of the hardest hit areas during May’s historic flood. In all, 305 residences are eligible for the program.

“By all accounts, this may be the fastest turnaround for any city that has undertaken a home buyout program after a major flood event like we had in May,” Mayor Karl Dean said.

Officials from Metro Water Services are set to begin closing on the properties in December. Under the program, FEMA covers 75 percent of purchasing costs, with the state and Metro covering the remaining 25 percent. 

Eligibility for the program is based on a home’s proximity to the floodplain. Priority was given to homes in the floodway –– the most dangerous part of the floodplain –– that sustained damage greater than 50 percent of the structure’s appraised value. Homes were then grouped to avoid isolating individual parcels.

To date, 249 homeowners out of the 305 eligible have expressed interest in participating in the voluntary program. More homes will be purchased as federal funds are made available.