LOGAN — Following the announcement of an upcoming buyout for homes located in flood planes throughout Logan County, over 160 people attended a meeting concerning details of the program.
On Dec. 3, The Little Theater at Logan High School filled with people eager to learn the requirements for the upcoming program.
The bouyout program involves the Logan County Commission (LCC) purchasing the homes in flood planes in Logan County using federal funds from FEMA.
Usually, mitigation buyouts are offered in response to natural disasters, but this program is designed to take people and first responders out of the path of the next flooding event.
Ray Perry, Logan County flood administrator, explained “This is proactive. It’s totally proactive to remove as many structures as possible…prior to the next [flooding] event. That not only removes the property that you have to clean up…it also moves you out of harms way. It grows from there.”
Once they are purchased by the LCC, the homes will be torn down; however, no permanent structures may be built on the land.
The LCC will be able to use the mitigated property for projects like parks and community gardens.
During the meeting Brian Penix, a hazard mitigation project officer with the W.Va. Division of Homeland Security explained the stipulations of the project.
Three basic factors emerged that determine a home’s eligibility for the buyout.
To qualify, the homeowner cannot owe more on the home’s mortgage than its appraised value, the home must be located in a flood plane in Logan County and be valued at less than $276,000.
Penix went through the process of filing a participation form in great detail and took time to address many of the questions asked by citizens.
Perry and Penix explained the project will focus on acquiring and demolishing homes in flood planes.
“Acquisition, demolition is where we acquire the structure. We give you fair market value as determined by a certified appraisal,” Penix noted. “I can’t give you more or less than the appraisal says — that’s very important.”
After testing for asbestos, lead and other contaminants, the homes will be destroyed.
Penix stressed the project is completely voluntary and people should be prepared for the process to take a long time.
Until they take possession of the payment, homeowners can withdraw from the project at will.
Penix added, once the applications are submitted to Ray Perry, the county has until next year to submit them to his office.
Once the applications go through the W.Va. Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, they will be filed with FEMA in June, 2016.
FEMA can then take another 18 months to approve the buyouts.
Perry noted the filing deadline for participation forms will be Dec. 18.
Anyone with questions about the program can contact Perry at 304-687-9680.
Owen Wells is a reporter for Civitas Media. He can be reached at 304-752-6950 ext. 1729 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.