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Floodplain Buyout (Acquisition) Program


Storm Water Services has purchased more than 325 flood-prone houses, apartment buildings and businesses that were in the regulated floodplain. These buildings were in more than a dozen neighborhoods along various creeks. Because of the buyouts, more than 600 families have been moved out of the highest-risk sections of local floodplains.

Floodplain buyouts are voluntary. Owners are not forced to sell. Some buyouts are funded completely with local money. Other buyouts also use grant funding from outside sources.

See a list of properties purchased through this program.


Demolition of flood-prone house

Locally funded buyouts

There are three different types of floodplain buyouts funded entirely with money from local storm water fees:

-Annual buyouts
Annual buyout properties are selected based on overall flood risk and other benefits to the community. In 2014, the properties targeted for buyouts include homes located along Dunlavin Way and Dolphin Lane in east Charlotte and homes along Barlowe Road and Glenwood Drive in west Charlotte that have a high risk of flooding.

-Quick Buys
After a destructive flood, the Quick Buy program sometimes has been used to purchase qualifying buildings with significant flood damage.
   2011: 21 houses purchased
   2008: 37 houses purchased
   2003: 9 houses purchased

-Orphan Property Acquisitions
Local storm water revenue was used to buy eligible "orphan" properties in the regulated floodplain.  

Charlotte firefighters use a buyout house for training    Charlotte firefighters conduct training at a 
floodplain buyout home

Grant-funded buyouts
In the past, most money for Charlotte-Mecklenburg floodplain buyouts came from a combination of federal, state and local funds. To qualify, the property had to meet criteria set by the federal and/or state governments.

Fewer properties now meet the federal and state criteria. In addition, Congress has reduced funding for these types of federal grants.

Sometimes, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police or Charlotte Fire Department crews conduct training exercises at buildings that have been acquired through the Floodplain Buyout Program.

Regardless of how the buyout is funded, the buildings are demolished or relocated. The floodplain is then restored to a natural state to store and filter excess rainfall and storm water runoff. More about how natural floodplains benefit the entire community.

Storm Water Services plans to continue buying eligible structures as funding is available.

Floodplain Buyout Program brochure 

For more information about the Floodplain Buyout Program:
Tim Trautman, P.E., C.F.M.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services

Wetlands in Hidden Valley
After a buyout, this lush wetland replaced
flood-prone homes in Hidden Valley

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