Lexington County is looking to acquire and raze 30 homes in the flood-prone Challedon neighborhood near Irmo.
Those homes mainly along Kinley Creek would be converted to informal parks under a flood mitigation plan approved by County Council on Tuesday.
Buyouts are what some homeowners there want, saying the once bucolic creek overflows into yards and homes often during storms.
The homes have not yet been identified. The plan allocates $6 million for their acquisition and demolition.
A buyout is part of a package using $16.3 million in federal aid allotted to the county for recovery from flooding created by record rain in the Columbia area in October.
Challedon is the only one of four neighborhoods in the area with flood-damaged homes that qualifies for buyouts so far under federal guidelines, consultant Erich Chatham said.
Buyouts elsewhere aren’t possible yet, county administrator Joe Mergo said. “Your council’s hands are somewhat tied,” he told those at the meeting.
But county officials can ask for waivers that would expand buyouts, Chatham said.
Council members know homeowners in other neighborhoods in the Irmo-St. Andrews area that have significant numbers of flood-damaged homes will be unhappy they aren’t eligible immediately.
Overall, about 250 homes were damaged in Coldstream, Pine Glen and Whitehall.
“This is the kind of thing that really gives government a bad name,” Councilman Johnny Jeffcoat of Irmo said. “We’re going to have to face the music.”
A study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed before the flood recommended 99 homes in flood-prone areas along the creek be torn down.
Buyouts in Challedon could start as soon as this fall if federal officials sign off.
Other parts of the package include:
▪ $5.1 million for renovation of flood-damaged homes, with amounts varying depending on location and other disaster assistance received. It’s estimated 101 homes would qualify.
▪ $3 million to repair roads and bridges as well as improve drainage.
Tim Flach: 803-771-8483