The Voluntary Flood Buyout Program acquires and demolishes structures that have been flooded or have been identified through the Watershed Study Program to have a severe flood risk.

A buyout is the voluntary sale of flood-prone structures to the City. This provides a permanent solution to the risk and damage of repetitive flooding and significantly reduces the public costs associated with City, state, and federal agencies’ emergency response actions. Additionally, removing the structure after the buyout creates a permanent open space that can naturally receive stormwater, improves flood water storage and conveyance, and can improve or restore habitat within flood prone areas. The Voluntary Flood Buyout Program does not provide immediate flood recovery assistance. Its primary function is to help prevent future damages.

Since 2009, the City has acquired and demolished 93 high flood risk properties valued at approximately $29.5M.

Why participate in the Voluntary Flood Buyout Program?

When a home or business experiences repeated flooding, costs for the owner can increase. Flooding may impact the stability of a home, damage or destroy personal property, and lead to injuries or loss of life. Repeated flooding may leave homes or businesses uninhabitable and/or unlikely to attract a buyer.

The City’s Flood Damage Prevention Code requires any structure within the FEMA-mapped floodplain that has been damaged over 25% of the structures market value be updated so it meets the City’s current code requirements. Structures that receive this level of damage are substantially damaged. In many areas, this would require the property owner to elevate the substantially damaged structure so that it is at least two feet above the ultimate base flood elevation. This can often be cost prohibitive for the property owner and hinders the ability to recover from a flood.

Buyout Candidates

In general, any structure located in a flood-prone area may be eligible for this program. The City considers the following criteria for eligibility:

  • The property owner is willing to participate in the program and willing to accept the fair market value of the property, as established by a professional appraiser. If one property has multiple owners, all owners must be willing to participate in the program.
  •  The structure has been subjected to significant flood damage with priority given to structures meeting the FEMA definition of repetitive loss or severe repetitive loss.
  • Priority is given if the structure is in the floodway.
  • The structure has been substantially damaged and has a low likelihood of recovery.
  • The structure has been identified for buyout in a watershed study.
  • The buyout must fit within the City’s budget for voluntary flood buyouts.

How to participate

Request to participate in the Voluntary Flood Buyout Program by completing the Statement of Voluntary Participation in the Flood Mitigation Buyout Program form.

The Buyout Process

The process can take several months once the City receives a completed Statement of Voluntary Participation in the Flood Mitigation Buyout Program form.

The buyout process includes the following steps:

  1. Property owner(s) submit completed Statement of Voluntary Participation in the Flood Mitigation Buyout Program form to Public Works.
  2. Public Works reviews each voluntary buyout request for prioritized buyout criteria and budget.
  3. The City’s Real Estate Professional appraisals are ordered and conducted to determine the fair market value of each structure.
  4. City makes fair market value offer to property owner(s).
  5. Upon acceptance of offer, the property acquisition is sent to City Council for approval.
  6. Property owner(s) must remove all contents from the buyout property.
  7. Closing.

Please contact the Public Works and Transportation Department at 817-459-6550 or at [email protected] more information about the Voluntary Flood Buyout Program.