Summary: On February 5, 1998, the Commonwealth of Kentucky submitted a letter, treated as a first appeal, to the Regional Director. The State claimed that decisions were reached during DFO operations to provide public assistance funds for demolition and removal in approved buyout projects and FEMA pulled back from their commitment. They contended that FEMA took the position that PA funding and eligibility would be limited to demolition and removal of dwellings above grade and appurtenant structures attached to the building and above grade, and non-dwelling structures would not be eligible. The State also requested written policy from FEMA, citing FEMA regulation, legislative authority and other guidance, on these questions. The Regional Director responded on March 6, 1998, that in a memo dated March 30, 1995, the FEMA National Office had clarified its position stating that Section 403 funds can be used to demolish structures (1) if the structures are determined to be unsafe and pose an immediate danger to the public; and (2) if 50 percent or more of the structures included a FEMA funded buyout/relocation program are substantially damaged, all structures in the specific project are eligible for demolition. In addition, 44 CFR 206.224 and 206.225 both state that in order to be eligible, the work must eliminate or lessen immediate threats (1) to life, public health, and safety; or (2) of significant damage to improved public or private property. Therefore, the PA Program would fund the costs associated with the removal of the structure, not to include the slab. On March 26, 1998, the State submitted a letter to FEMA, treated as a second appeal, requesting that FEMA reconsider the policy clarification regarding the role of the PA Program in providing assistance for demolition costs associated with the Hazard Mitigation Buyout Program. The State contended that according to 44 CFR 206.224(a)(3), the work might be eligible if it will ensure economic recovery of the affected community to the benefit of the community-at-large and that PA funds should be made available to "return to green spaces" properties acquired under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program relocation policy.
Issue: Is part of the demolition work, which is not of an immediate threat, eligible for PA?
Findings: No. That part of the demolition work which is not of an immediate threat may not be funded through the PA Program.
Rationale: Stafford Act, Section 403; 44 CFR 206.224 and 206.225; FEMA Memo dated March 30, 1995 (Demolition of Flood Damaged Structures Under Section 403)