Storm Water Services is implementing a plan to buy some isolated properties in regulated floodplains. The Orphan Property Floodplain Acquisition Plan
was approved by the Board of County Commissioners in 2012.
Starting in 2000, Storm Water Services bought about 250 properties with the highest risk of repeated flood damage from nearby creeks. These properties met specific cost-benefit criteria set by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and local elected officials.
In some cases, one house would qualify for a buyout because of interior flood damage, but the house next door did not qualify because its living space is above flood heights.
This resulted in a checkerboard pattern of buyout properties in some neighborhoods. Qualifying properties bought through this program became vacant lots owned and maintained by Mecklenburg County. But often, that same street still has homes that did not qualify for a buyout. They are "orphans."
In 2012, Storm Water Services identified 17 orphan properties for potential buyouts. All of these are single-family residential properties which:
- are on cul-de-sacs or dead-end streets
- touch the Community Encroachment Area of the regulated floodplain
- are on the same street where previous FEMA buyouts or Quick Buys have taken place.