- Published on Wednesday, 09 July 2014 21:40
- Written by Super User
By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
CAROLINA BEACH - The Carolina Beach Town Council voted at their July 8th, meeting to seek a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to elevate ten residential structures above the 100-year flood plain elevation.
If successful, the grant would be 100% funded by FEMA and require no matching funds from the Town or homeowners.
According to Jeremy Hardison - Town Senior Planner - "The proposed project is intended primarily to mitigate against future damages from floods, as the entire project area is within the 100-year floodplain. The level of protection provided would be to the 100-year event. The useful mean economic lifetime of structures to be elevated is estimated to be fifty (50) years."
Hardison explained, "A number of homes in Carolina Beach have been damaged by flood waters several times, with the incidence and extent of damage varying significantly based on the type, location, and intensity of the various flood events. The town completed some Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) acquisition activity following Hurricane Fran and also completed a successful fiscal year 2008 Severe Repetitive Loss (SRL) project on Carolina Avenue North."
Hardison explained, "Recently, the town was advised that seven additional structures are slated for elevation assistance with fiscal year 2013 Unified Hazard Mitigation Assistance (UHMA) funds. The town has a large number of older, very valuable single-family primary and secondary residences located both in V flood zones and in the AE zone that are extremely vulnerable to flood events. The town is very fortunate that it has not suffered significant hurricane damage in a number of years, given the high incidence of Atlantic hurricane activity in recent years. Elevation above Base Flood Elevation (BFE) to current coastal construction standards would virtually eliminate flood losses for these structures during any storm other than a catastrophic event."
He explained, "The town has completed a data sort of its current Severe Repetitive Loss list. Staff is hopeful that approximately ten (10) SRL units will be approved by North Carolina Department of Emergency Management (NCDEM) under the fiscal year 2014 UHMA program. Due to the fact that almost all of the flood damage since 1996 has been repetitive coastal flooding and can be cost-effectively mitigated through the elevation process, the town of Carolina Beach is not pursuing an acquisition alternative at this time. The town prefers the elevation alternative because it preserves the town’s tax base, and eliminates the need for the town to maintain small, isolated parcels of land scattered throughout its jurisdiction. The town has identified no practical public use for isolated parcels acquired with HMGP funds. If the town identifies a practical public use for properties that have code enforcement issues and are unsuitable for elevation, or identifies a hardship issue making acquisition more preferable to the homeowner, it may pursue a limited acquisition activity in the final application."
Hardison said the project will take place at scattered locations in the Town of Carolina Beach. The implementation of the project will eliminate repetitive flood damage experienced by up to ten homeowners through elevation of existing finished floor elevations above the Base Flood Elevation as specified by the Town of Carolina Beach Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance, and foundation retrofitting as specified by universal engineering design standards and the North Carolina State Residential Building Code.
Hardison explained, "It is expected that this proposed project will provide a significant reduction in post-disaster insurance settlements, direct FEMA payments to homeowners, and temporary displacement, uninsured losses, loss of personal property, and other primary and secondary adverse economic and human impacts resulting from flood damage."
If the Town's application is successful the funds would come from federal financial assistance under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief & Emergency Assistance Act and require no matching funds from the Town or homeowners.
During the Council's July 8th meeting Councilman Steve Shuttleworth said Hardison and Town staff have been working hard on the issue for some time now and thanked them for their efforts.
Hardison said, "There will be no homeowner or town expense. It will be 100% FEMA funded." He said homes have to meet specific FEMA requirements and they are confident they will meet those criteria. He noted it is a national program with other local governments throughout the country making similar applications.