Homeowners with property on Jason Way and Clearfield Street met with city officials Thursday to begin the process of a home buy out.
The neighborhood in West Morehead was badly damaged by the May 2 flood. Homeowners of 17 homes on Jason Way and three on Clearfield Street were given the option by the city to apply for federal and state monies that will allow them to elevate their homes, or to be bought out by the city.
During Thursday’s meeting, residents were asked to sign a form that would allow the city to apply for the grants, but also promised that the home owners would donate 10 percent of the value of their home (before the flood) to the city for demolition and clean up.
City Planner and Building Inspector Joe Parson said completing the necessary paperwork now would make the process shorter by at least nine months.
“Morehead is way ahead of any other city in Kentucky as far as applying for this grant goes,” Parson said. “We could get ice storm money reallocated and knock a lot of time off the process.”
The estimated $1.6 million project would raise the 20 homes in question, or simply demolish them. The city would be responsible for the demolition, refuse removal, regarding the land and sowing the land with grass. Part of the agreement would mean the land could never be used to build new structures. The project would be funded with 75 percent FEMA money, 12 percent State Hazard Mitigation money, and 13 percent local monies (donated by the home owners.)
All the homes in question except one are below the current flood elevation and without raising the structures or demolishing them, the city stands to loose the federal flood insurance program.
The majority of homes in the West Morehead neighborhood were affected in some way by the flooding, but just 20 homes were invited to sign up for the program.
“It has to do with the damage to the home and with the elevation of the land,” Parson said. “All of the homes received at least 50 percent of the value of their home in flood damages. These are the homes that were hit the hardest and they are all on the same or similar elevation. There just wasn’t any grant money available to do any more of the surrounding homes.”
Parson says once the 20 structures are removed, the remaining homes in the area will be less susceptible to flooding. With no more roof runoff and the removal of all the concrete and roads around the homes, there will be more land to soak up rising waters.
Many of the residents will not be raising their homes elevation. Instead, they will let the city buy the property.
“I signed to have my place mitigated,” Jason Way resident Cindy Crager said. “I owned my house when (the neighborhood) was first built and it never flooded. Then they filled in up town and in Olde Towne, and it started flooding. We spent $15,000 remodeling when it flooded last year, and then it came again in May. I just don’t want to do it again.”