Residents of the College Park neighborhood in Brunswick have dealt with nuisance flooding during heavy rains for years. Storm drains can’t seem to keep up with deluges, especially when tropical weather systems blow through the area.
A program federal program may be able to provide some assistance for neighborhood homeowners who are cleaning up after flooding again, some for the fourth or fifth times.
Alec Eaton with the Glynn County Emergency Management Agency said he is looking into getting more information regarding a Federal Emergency Management Agency program that could present buyout options.
Brunswick Mayor Cornell Harvey and Brunswick Commissioner Vincent Williams discussed looking into the program following Hurricane Irma.
According to information on FEMA’s website, for eligible communities, FEMA typically funds 75 percent of the cost of property acquisition with the municipality and state contributing the remaining twenty-five percent.
The program is completely voluntary and is administered through the local Emergency Management Agency. Homeowners are not required to sell their property and cannot be forced to move because their home is located in an area subject to repetitive flooding.
Homes that are determined to be eligible for buyouts are purchased by the town or city at the fair market value of the property prior to the flood. The fair market value is determined as the result of an appraisal conducted by a certified appraiser using sales of comparable homes sold before the flood event.
Once purchased by the municipality, the homes are demolished and the property is designated as greenspace.
Jeffrey Muchison, pastor of the Christian Calvary Center in Waverly and chairman of the College Park/Magnolia Park Neighborhood Planning Assembly, said Friday that an emergency NPA meeting was held immediately after residents were allowed back into Glynn County following the storm.
“Thirty-two homes flooded with Hurricane Irma,” said Muchison. “That’s what I can verify. Some of the homes took on a foot-and-half of water like the elderly couple, Richard and Caroline Massey. They are starting over for the fourth time and are not able to live in their home yet after Hurricane Irma because of the flooding. His health is bad and hers is not much better. They are too old to keep dealing with this. They are displaced right now and we don’t know where they are.”
Entering College Park immediately following the storm was described as impossible except for those with specially designed vehicles.
In June, city commissioners approved a contract for analysis and hydraulic modeling of the neighborhood and nearby drainage basins to figure out how best to deal with the problem.
“I really believe the engineering will fix the problem but some people don’t believe they can fix it,” Muchison said. “Not everybody wants to move but there are some who want out of College Park. Some people are still having the their homes repaired and have to replace furniture, this will take a long time. Some people had just completed repairs on their home from Hurricane Matthew. Residents would appreciate the city giving them some options.”