Neighborhood leaders are happy that Lexington County is expanding its plan to acquire and demolish more homes in flood-prone areas.
“This is what we were hoping for,” Art Guerry, president of the Whitehall Homeowners Association in St. Andrews, said Wednesday.
The change comes after residents in Whitehall and other neighborhoods in the Irmo-St. Andrews areas damaged by floods last fall pressed county officials for buyouts instead of aid for repairs.
That led officials to announce on Tuesday that they had doubled their initial buyout from 30 to 65 homes, and increased the allotment from federal disaster aid for that from $6 million to $10 million.
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That’s one of every six homes in the county damaged by floods after record rain in October, primarily in the Challedon, Coldstream, Pine Glen and Whitehall neighborhoods.
The “dramatic change” came after many homeowners made it clear they want to abandon instead of renovate homes, county flood recovery consultant Erich Chatham said.
Buyouts originally were limited to Challedon, but now will be available countywide.
Homeowners seeking a buyout will receive a non-negotiable offer based on assessment of pre-flood value along with up to $5,000 for moving assistance as well as an extra $10,000 for purchasing another residence in the county, officials said.
The change will solve problems for many homeowners who found repairs too expensive, County Councilman Phil Yarborough of Irmo said.
Tim Flach: 803-771-8483
Interested in a buyout?
Call 211 to talk with advisers and to apply, Lexington County officials say.