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Waco considers buyout program for residents in flood plains

Posted at 6:28 PM, Mar 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-06 19:28:13-05

The City of Waco is looking at a buyout program for homeowners living in flood plains around town.

The city says they are looking at engineer fixes to help residents avoid potential floods. Many residents are wondering what they would be offered for their home that is now in a deemed flood zone.

Residents living along Barron’s Branch Creek learned they were living in a flood zone after a FEMA ruling nearly two years ago.

The City of Waco's Watershed Manager Rodger Glick says the buyout program would provide better opportunities to those living in a flood zone.

“Waco Creek and Primrose Creek have potential flooding issues, so this is something that were looking at across the city,” Glick said.

However — there aren’t a lot of specifics, and many homes in the impacted area are older.

This leaves many residents in the flood plain in a tough spot.

“What would the city be willing to offer them for a reasonable amount of money for their property, their homes, their land?" said Sammy Smith, president of Brook Oak Neighborhood Association.

The program would only buy out residents willing to sell their property voluntarily, while other flood plains can be fixed with infrastructure improvements.

"We would target certain areas for buyouts because in other areas, the structural engineered solution may be a better solution. The one percent chance every year that torrential rain could devastate the area is enough to raise concerns for everyone involved," Glick said.

"Just because you don’t live in that particular flood plain doesn’t mean you can’t get flooded out. A lot of this area doesn’t have curb and gutter drainage,” Smith said.

Glick said the proposed buyout program is still needing to be presented to Waco’s city council for approval.

No date has been set for this as of now.