September 8, 2006
Charlotte, NC - The Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) approval of partial funding to buy a Charlotte apartment complex is the first step in what's expected to be a long-term project to eliminate repeated flood damage.
Often referred to as the Doral-Cavalier Apartments, the two are actually separate complexes on opposite sides of Briar Creek near Monroe Road. FEMA has authorized mitigation grant funds to buy the 192 units of the Cavalier Apartments. This grant does not involve the purchase of any land or buildings within the Doral Apartments.
FEMA announced it will provide $5,441,556 to buy the Cavalier Apartments. The total cost of the proposed buyout project is estimated at more than $7.7 million. The remaining $2,351,189 would be paid from Mecklenburg County's Storm Water Services fees. The goal of Storm Water officials is to eventually tear down the Cavalier Apartments and convert that section of floodplain to open space.
The Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners will likely consider accepting the FEMA grant later this fall. Once the grant agreement is official, Mecklenburg County can begin negotiations with the owner of the Cavalier Apartments. Any decision to sell the apartment complex to the County is voluntary.
If the owner chooses to sell the Cavalier Apartments, the County would give renters ample time to find new places to live and would provide financial relocation assistance to most of them.
Tim Trautman, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services' Flood Mitigation Program Manager, says there is no way to stop Briar Creek from flooding the apartments. FEMA says flood damage to the Cavalier Apartments in the past ten years is approximately $12 million dollars. Emergency crews have evacuated the apartments several times due to rapidly rising floodwater.
Trautman says the only effective way to end the cycle of flooding and flood insurance claims is to buy the apartment complex and tear it down. The land could eventually become part of a greenway or park.