PORT ARTHUR - The City of Port Arthur is notifying thousands of homes and businesses affected by Tropical Storm Harvey may be living in a hazardous floodplain.
A news release states that all damaged residences in this zone must be inspected according to FEMA guidelines to determine the extent of damage before owners can begin rebuilding.
Homes like Anthony Alexander’s in El Vista may have received four feet of water inside, or even more.
Alexander was surprised to get a notice on Wednesday that he’s living in a hazardous flood zone.
"I'm confused about that, do they want people that have big brick houses to [elevate], I mean come on you can't put that on stilts," Alexander said.
The city of Port Arthur's planning manager, Paul Brown says the floodplain homes that suffered substantial damage, or 50 percent of the home's value before the storm, will be subject to FEMA regulations.
"But if the home is as high as we and FEMA could possibly require it to be, then it does not have to be elevated any higher," Brown said.
A FEMA inspection must determine if a home or business suffers substantial damage.
City leaders say inspections of the damages will be calculated at 1.4 percent, saying it will take extensive damage before the elevation is required.
Alexander is upset that thousands of citizens may be faced with a task they can’t afford.
"All of a sudden start over, 'I'm going to rebuild, I can take out a loan or a mortgage,' a lot of people can't do that here. It's going to take time but I wish the city, ugh, I mean what is this? Arrows?" Alexander said.
A notice to Port Arthur residents asks if a structure meets current floodplain elevation codes. If so, a resident or business owner can get a building permit.
If a home does not meet current floodplain requirements and did suffer substantial damage, the city of Port Arthur is asking property owners to elevate and repair their homes.
The City of Port Arthur is asking residents and business owners to obtain substantial damage determination before making any repairs within the hazardous flood zone.
The city’s full press release can be found here.
A list of addresses within the hazardous floodplain is listed here.
Maps showing the elevation and floodplains for homes can be found at this website.
Communities affected include:
- El Vista
- Montrose 1 and 2
- Vista Village
- Jimmy Johnson Boulevard south to Highway 73
- Procter Street between 12th Avenue and San Jacinto Street
Town hall meetings will be held next week at the following dates and locations:
- Lakeside Community Center on October 9, at 5:30 p.m.
- Westside Community Center on October 9, at 7:30 p.m.
- YMCA on October 12, at 5:30 p.m.
- Port Arthur Recreational Center on October 12, at 7:30 p.m.
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