FEMA Approves 16 Home Buyouts

Cars are submerged by floodwaters in a business parking lot on Market Street just west of the Neuse River Bridge in Smithfield on Oct. 10, 2016. JoCoReport.com Photo

FEMA has approved the purchase of 16 homes in Johnston County  – 8 in the Smithfield city limits and 8 in unincorporated areas – that were significantly damaged or destroyed by floodwaters associated with Hurricane Matthew in October 2016.

The buyouts include three homes on Buckleberry Road outside of Princeton,  three homes on Hannah Creek Road near Four Oaks, one residence on East Ridge Road near Benson, plus one property on US 701 South. The total cost is $2 million. A total of 30 homeowners in unincporated areas had requested the federal government purchase their home after the major flooding event last year.

In the Smithfield city limits, buyouts were requested for 27 homes. Only 8 were approved. They were for homes on E. Riverside Drive, Woodall Street, Rosewood Drive, and 5 on Highway 210 that were approved for federal acquisition.

A home is surrounded by floodwaters during Hurricane Matthew in Oct. 2016. Photo by John Payne

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has also agreed to fund the cost of elevating 5 homes located on Joyner Bridge Road and Skinner Road near Four Oaks and Richardson Bridge Road near Princeton. In the city limits, two homes will receive funds for elevation, one on Brookside Drive and the other on W. Davis Street.

Federal funds were also earmarked to reconstruct one home on Joyner Bridge Road, according to Kim Robertson, Director of Johnston County Emergency Services, which is assisting homeowners with the buyout program. The reconstruction cost is $275,000.

In addition to the home buyouts and elevation work, county officials hope to receive $1.1 million in federal funds for public utilities to minimize the risk of future flood damage, reduce service interruptions and the risk of wastewater spills.

An aerial view of flooding in Eastern NC following Hurricane Matthew. Photo by US Coast Guard

An additional $51,500 is being sought for a Special Needs Generator for Johnston County Emergency Services.

$700,000 has been requested by the Town of Smithfield for improvements to a CSX culvert to mitigate flooding.