Eighty of Nashville’s 305 flood-damaged properties eligible for a home buyout program are in the west Nashville neighborhood north of Robertson and Urbandale avenues.
Not far behind, 75 eligible properties are in the Pennington Bend area, with another 62 eligible parcels in the north Nashville/Bordeaux neighborhood.
In all, three council districts –– represented by council members Buddy Baker, Phil Claiborne and Lonnell Matthews Jr., respectively –– account for more than 70 percent of the properties whose owners can opt into a buyout plan administered by Metro Water Services and funded by a combination of federal, state and local dollars
Perhaps surprisingly, only four eligible properties are in Councilman Bo Mitchell’s Bellevue council district and none are in Councilman Eric Crafton’s Bellevue district, two of the heaviest hit areas by Nashville’s historic flood.
It appears the initial wave of homes deemed eligible for program are concentrated close to the Cumberland River, as opposed to other waterways such as the Harpeth River in Bellevue.
Yesterday, Metro officials and others involved in the Hazard Mitigation Home Buyout program met with council members whose districts have homes that can be purchased and torn down under the program. The aim of the voluntary program is to reduce the number of structures within Nashville’s floodway, a defined area near a river or creek susceptible to future flooding.
After meeting with council members, the Metro water department mailed letters to property owners eligible to take part in program. More than a quarter of those letters are being delivered to Baker’s west Nashville council district, the majority of homeowners who live on the various roads and side-streets off Urbandale Avenue near a tributary of the Cumberland.
“I’ve been calling some of them and letting them know they’ll be able to buy out,” Baker said. “Some of them are happy and some of them are sad. But in the long run, I think that it will really benefit them because it’s going to flood again in the years to come.
“I hate to see it, but I think it will be the best bet for them to go ahead and take the buyout,” he said.
The Pennington Bend neighborhood, located within Claiborne’s council district, has 75 properties eligible for the buyout program, mostly homes found on Pennington Bend Road and Miami Avenue, which both flank the Cumberland.
For many of his constituents, Claiborne said the buyout program remains “a big question mark,” adding that some people have already gone ahead and sought building permits.
“There have been no details that have come out,” Claiborne said. “It’s taken a long time to put it together ... over the next week or so, there ought to be some definite opinions about it, but at this point in time, there’s really not a lot of expectations because people really don’t know what to expect.”
Homes were selected for the buyout program based on their location in the floodplain and the amount of damage they sustained during the May flood. Priority was given to homes in the floodway that sustained damage greater than 50 percent of the structure’s appraised value. Homes were then grouped to avoid isolating individual parcels.
“We have spent the last month conducting assessments and determining which properties should be included in the buyout program,” Metro Water Services Director Scott Potter said in a written statement. “We selected the homes that are most at risk of being substantially damaged in a future flood and would be the most difficult to rebuild based on the requirements of our stormwater code.”