o Originally approved HMGP funding was for purchase of 30 properties to mitigate landslide risk in the location of a steep slope. However, it was found that homeowners were compensated by legal settlements with the developer of the project site, where the slope had been stabilized. The California Office of Emergency Services (OES) stated that the project no longer met a "public purpose" nor met HMGP priorities, because of the non-public settlement associated with compensation and the slope stabilization. When FEMA Region IX de-obligated the funds, the City of Laguna Niguel appealed. Region IX denied the appeal.
• Reason for Denial
o Region IX based the 1st appeal on the determination that the project no longer met the HMGP priorities and eligibility criteria for the previously funded project.
o 44 CFR 206.434 Eligibility; 44 CFR 206.440 Appeals
o The subgrantee claimed that the issues raised by FEMA had been addressed and approved by OES, that there was a valid public purpose for the project, the scope of work (SOW) had been unchanged since the time of the approved application, all necessary environmental exceptions were obtained, land use restrictions and ordinances had been established, and that an eligible private non-profit owner had been established.
• FEMA Findings
o FEMA HQ denied the 2nd appeal, upholding Region IX’s decision to deny the 1st appeal.
o The rationale for the 2nd appeal denial was that the project did not comply with applicable statutory and regulatory requirements. The project violated the provision in the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act) regarding the duplication of benefits (DOB), because a private third party agreed in settlements with the property owners to repurchase the properties included in the application SOW. Therefore, the HMGP assistance would have duplicated funding from another source for the same purpose, that of acquiring the properties.
o Reference(s): 44 CFR 206.440 Appeals; 44 CFR 206.434 Eligibility; Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act), Section 312, Duplication of Benefits