Conway deciding what to do with properties acquired in FEMA buyouts

Grand Strand

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – The city is trying to figure out what to do with flood-prone properties it now has through a federal buyout program, nearly six months after Hurricane Florence.

Those properties were obtained through the FEMA buyout program. That’s when FEMA gives money to states and local governments to buy properties from homeowners in flood-prone areas. No buildings can go on the land, so it must be used as open space.

The city already took over several properties after Hurricane Matthew in 2016. After Florence, the city now has many more, or is close to getting them, especially near Long Avenue and Crabtree Swamp.

City Planning Director Mary Catherine Hyman says one option could be to lease properties to residents for $1 annually, saving the city money on maintenance.

“Say you own a home and the property beside you is bought with the FEMA buyout program,” Hyman said. “The city could possibly lease you that property, so you could use it as part of your yard.”

Some other options include using open space to plant nurseries for trees and plants or working with a college like Coastal Carolina University to create a city master park plan.

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