City considers buying homes in flood's path
Manitou Springs' city administrator said Tuesday the city is looking into purchasing some properties in flash flood water's path.
Many properties have been hit twice by flash flooding. It's a problem expected to continue during heavy rain for years. The city wants to help homeowners and businesses downstream. It could mean buying some properties up stream to help with flood mitigation.
The city is focused on properties along Canon Avenue at the mouth of Williams Canyon. The city will have an engineer survey the rest of the area known as the Narrows. The engineer will come up with a flood mitigation plan for the area. If the city wants to build infrastructure to help with flooding -- like wider culverts or sifting basins -- on homeowners' properties, it would ask homeowners if they're interested in selling.
City Administrator Jack Benson said homeowners impacted by plan would not be forced to sell their home to the city. He said homeowners' participation is voluntary.
"The rumor that's going around, we're going to do this wholesale condemnation over every property up there. That's not going to happen. We're going to work with each homeowner. And like I said, we're going to have to figure out what properties make sense anyways," said Benson.
John Marfoffer thought once was bad enough. His home has been hit by the flood twice.
"It was fine. It was ready to be re-done" said Maroffer gesturing to his home's lower level. He spent weeks cleaning out his lower level after July's flash flood left behind 3 feet of mud and debris.
He purchased his home on Narrows Road shortly before the first flood. He planned to rent the home. His home sits next to a culvert. The current culvert can't handle heavy debris when Williams Canyon floods.
"The real solution and the only solution is to work on the culvert," said Marfoffer.
If the flood mitigation plan involved Marfoffer's home, he would sell it to the city.
"If they offered the right amount of money I would certainly accept it," said Marfoffer. "I think it's necessary. I'm sure the town thinks its necessary."
C.J. Lytle was working on three rental properties across the culvert from Marfoffer Tuesday.
"My boss would probably sell it because I mean, it's going to happen and happen and happen," said Lytle, referring to projected flood patterns in the area into the future.
At least one of his boss's rental homes will need to be torn down and rebuilt if the company plans to rent in the future. Lytle said the prospect of rebuilding is slim.
"If you rebuild, you're a fool," said Lytle.
The city does not have money in its budget to buy properties in the Narrows. The city can't do anything unless it gets grant money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
FEMA would tap into its Hazard Mitigation Assistance Program to fund the project. The pogram doesn't have any money. Benson hopes FEMA can allocate money from different programs for this flood project.
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