Flood­plain res­i­dents may have to lift homes

1,600 will be told their houses will need more work to meet code

The Dallas Morning News - - State -

HOUS­TON — More than 1,600 Hous­ton res­i­dents whose prop­er­ties flooded dur­ing and af­ter Hur­ri­cane Har­vey may need to el­e­vate their homes if they want to con­tinue liv­ing there.

The city’s Pub­lic Works Depart­ment is get­ting ready to no­tify prop­erty own­ers in flood­plains that their struc­tures have been de­clared “sub­stan­tially dam­aged.” The depart­ment said more than 30,500 struc­tures sit­ting within the city’s flood­plains took on some flood­ing from the hur­ri­cane and the heavy rains that fol­lowed, the Hous­ton Chron­i­cle re­ported.

Those homes will need ad­di­tional, ex­pen­sive re­pairs to meet cur­rent build­ing codes. Such re­pairs could mean phys­i­cally rais­ing homes, an up­grade of­fi­cials said could cost more than $150,000.

Pub­lic Works of­fi­cials said more than 1,600 let­ters are go­ing out this month to the first set of prop­er­ties iden­ti­fied as so se­verely dam­aged that re­pairs would cost more than 50 per­cent of the struc­ture’s mar­ket value.

“The let­ter of sub­stan­tial dam­age is a tool for the city of Hous­ton to en­sure peo­ple are not re­pair­ing houses that re­ally shouldn’t be re­paired,” said Ed Wolff, a res­i­dent who re­ceived his let­ter Tues­day.

Wolff said his home needs the des­ig­na­tion so he can be el­i­gi­ble for a mit­i­ga­tion loan to el­e­vate his house, which flooded for the third time in three years.

Wolff said he plans to el­e­vate his house 6 feet, which is 3 feet above the wa­ter line from Har­vey. He said the el­e­va­tion will cost more than $270,000.

“The ex­pense is tremen­dous,” said Hous­ton Mayor Pro Tem Ellen Cohen. “It’s dif­fi­cult, but there are go­ing to be de­ci­sions that have to be made.”

El­iz­a­beth Con­ley/hous­ton Chron­i­cle

Work­ers prepped a home to be raised in the Mey­er­land neigh­bor­hood of Hous­ton on Wed­nes­day. More than 1,600 Hous­ton res­i­dents whose prop­er­ties were flooded by Hur­ri­cane Har­vey may need to el­e­vate their homes if they want to con­tinue liv­ing there.

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