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Floodplain Acquisition Program

The Floodplain Acquisition Program has become an integral part of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services' Flood Mitigation Program. The purchase and demolition of flood-prone structures in the FEMA-regulated floodplain is a proven method to remove the potential for flood loss. By removing the buildings at highest risk of flooding, Charlotte-Mecklenburg avoids flood losses that would total in the millions of dollars every year. 

Property owners are not forced to sell. They are offered fair market value for their property. If their flood-prone property is bought through this program, the sellers must sign agreements stating that they will not buy another home or business in a regulated floodplain.

Read our Floodplain Buyout Program Brochure​ for the general public. 


Firefighters often conduct training at homes that are bought and demolished through this program
Firefighters often conduct training at
homes that are bought and demolished
through this program

Since 2000, Storm Water Services and FEMA have purchased and removed more than 325 commercial and residential structures from Charlotte-Mecklenburg FEMA-regulated floodplains with an average of 35% local and 65% federal funding. Because some of the acquisitions were apartments or other multi-family housing, the buyouts have moved more than 600 families out of the floodplain.

See a list of Floodplain Acquisition project sites by neighborhood.

Storm Water Services generally seeks to maximize acquisition funding by pursuing grant opportunities. Historically, the Floodplain Acquisition Program has been very successful in obtaining federal funds through three grant programs:
  • PDM – Pre-Disaster Mitigation grants
  • FMA – Flood Mitigation Assistance grants
  • HMGP – Hazard Mitigation Grant Program

Most grant programs require a local match.  The match may be "in kind" services but often requires a local financial match.  Storm Water Services has consistently matched local storm water utility fees with federal grant funds to maximize the impact of the acquisition program.

repairing a building   ​ Grant application procedures are often cumbersome requiring lots of information. A typical PDM grant package may take a grant writer two to three weeks to assemble if they have the required data in a FEMA acceptable format. A typical grant application requires maps, community information, financial statements, property information, owner information, hydrologic and hydraulic information, and environmental documentation.

Grant applications may be hard copy (traditional) or submitted electronically (E-Grants).



Once a grant is approved, a contract between the grant provider and the grant administrator must be processed. For the grants listed above, the contract is usually between the State grant provider and the local community grant administrator. For Storm Water Services, there is always a contract with the North Carolina Department of Emergency Management

Hazard mitigation grants are usually administered through the local government. Once the contracts have been executed, projects generally progresses through these steps:

  • Initial interviews with property owners and tenants
  • Signing of the Statement of Voluntary Acquisition
  • Surveys
  • Appraisals
  • Offer of Sale presented to property owners
  • Pre-Closing
  • Closing
  • Asbestos Abatement
  • Demolition
  • Environmental Restoration


After a property has been acquired and demolished through the Floodplain Acquisition Program, the property may only be used as a park, greenway or open space. A deed restriction requires that the property remain as open space for public use in perpetuity. Sometimes Storm Water Services builds water quality structures such as wetlands, retention ponds or other BMPs in the reclaimed floodplain. 

See a list of Floodplain Restoration project sites.

To learn more about Charlotte-Mecklenburg's Floodplain Buyout Program, contact Flood Mitigation Project Manager David Love at 980-314-3229​.
Property acquired and demolished may only be used as a park, greenway or open space