Marlinton Residents May Qualify For FEMA Hazard Mitigation Funds
Marlinton, WV – Tim Keaton, of the WV Dept of Homeland Security, says residents in Marlinton may qualify for Hazard mitigation funds available through FEMA. He recently spoke to a small group of town residents about a program offering buyouts and other options for homeowners in flood prone areas.
He told them they may qualify for the federal funding even if they already have flood insurance. This is part of the Severe Repetitive Loss Program and Flood Plains Repetitive loss program. Severe is defined as 2 or more flood damage claims of 5,000.00 or more within 10 years. Flood plains loss is defined as 2 or more claims of 1000.00 or more within 10 years. In the town, at least 50 homes qualify in this category, 2 qualify as severe repetitive loss structures.
Keaton says other calculations are also used to determine the value of the home. 75% of the funding comes from the federal government, the other 25% from the state. Keaton says WV has 9 million dollars available this year for hazard mitigation.
There are three options to consider. The first is property acquisition, FEMA’s preferred method, according to Keaton. The property owner gets fair market value, based on pre-flood conditions. Any buildings on the property would be torn down and ownership reverts to the town of Marlinton. By law, the land must remain open space. It can be used as a public park, but can’t be sold or developed. Altering the property in this way would also affect the towns’ tax revenues.
The second option is relocation, wherein a home is physically moved to another location out of the floodplain. But Keaton says floodplain homes often can’t withstand being moved and an alternative site may not be readily available.
The third option is to elevate the home above the base flood level. This is not preferred by FEMA, because they consider the home still in harms way. Additionally there is some cost to the homeowner as they must pay for a feasibility study for the elevation. Marlinton Mayor Dennis Driscoll would prefer residents choose this option over tearing down houses.
Keaton says it’s a long process, taking as long as 18 months to complete. Anyone interested in finding out more can contact the town office for an application. Keaton has asked to have the applications submitted to the town office by March 23rd.