Des Moines County, Iowa - Elevations
|Applicant||Iowa Homeland Security & Emergency Management Division|
o Des Moines County, Iowa applied under disaster declaration DR-966-IA for a grant under HMGP for the purpose of defraying the cost of elevating two residential structures. FEMA Region VII denied approval, Des Moines County appealed, and Region VII denied the appeal.
• Reason for Denial
o The proposed elevations did not meet the eligibility requirements of the HMGP provided in 44 CFR 206.434, requiring that a project be cost effective. The elevations of nearly three stories were found not to be cost effective.
o 44 CFR 206.434 Eligibility; 44 CFR 206.440 Appeals
2nd Appeal (and 3rd Appeal)
o The subapplicant submitted the application, 1st appeal, 2nd appeal and 3rd appeal, based on the belief that the proposed elevations were cost effective and eligible for funding under HMGP.
• FEMA Findings
o The 2nd and 3rd appeal decisions were to uphold the 1st appeal denial.
o The rationale for the decisions was that the project failed to meet the critical eligibility requirements of the HMGP, because the elevations were found not to be cost effective based on benefit-cost ratios of 0.24 and 0.27.
o Reference(s): 44 CFR 206.434 Eligibility; 44 CFR 206.440 Appeals
Washington, D.C. 20472
DEC 26 1996
Governor's Authorized Representative
Emergency Management Division
Hoover State Building, Lower Level A
Des Moines, Iowa 50319
This letter responds to a third appeal filed on behalf of Des Moines County for a grant under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). The grant was requested to defray the cost of elevating two flood-prone residential structures. The State of Iowa's project number is 996.30. The grant application was submitted after disaster declaration FEMA-966-DR-IA.
Funding under HMGP remains available. There are three options to consider. We would agree to acquire these properties under the HMGP, or you can use the available funding for a completely different project, or finally, you can proceed with the project using Iowa's five percent initiative funding. FEMA Region VII is available to assist Des Moines County in identifying suitable alternative loss reduction measures for the XXXX and XXXX properties. We look forward to working with you on this matter.
James Lee Witt
FEMA-966-DR-lA, Project #996.30,
Elevating two Flood-Prone Residential Structures in Des Moines County, Iowa.
Background: In November 1994, the State of Iowa submitted to FEMA an application from Des Moines County proposing the acquisition of 52 primary residential properties and the elevation of 8 primary residences. FEMA approved all 52 acquisitions and 5 of the 8 elevations. Three of the proposed elevations were not found to be cost effective and were denied.
The State of Iowa filed an appeal to FEMA Region VII Director on behalf of Des Moines County. The proposed elevation of the three structures were not found to be cost effective and were denied. The State then appealed to the Executive Associate Director of FEMA's Mitigation Directorate, challenging RVII's rationale for denying the grant on first appeal (letter of April 13, 1995). The Executive Associate Director for Mitigation upheld the previous decision and denied the grant on appeal because the elevations were again not found to be cost effective (letter of November 30, 1996). When the State filed a third appeal, one home owner had withdrawn from the appeal, leaving two homes in question.
Executive Associate Director for Mitigation. The Program Implementation Division procured the professional services of an architectural and engineering firm to independently access the cost effectiveness of the (two) elevations. The Region and State
were also contacted for additional site information and comments on the two properties.
The State has expressed that it would be willing to work with Des Moines County and FEMA Region VII to identify alternative loss reduction measures, such as acquisition and/or relocation.
Conclusion: After reviewing the information on the appeal, it was concluded that the projects do not meet two of the eligibility requirements under Federal Regulations, 44 CFR 206.434, to qualify for the HMGP. The proposal does not meet requirements for cost effectiveness, nor is it the most effective alternative to addressing the flood hazard.
Unlike the five properties approved for elevation, the two properties in question had been previously and retrofitted to a 10+ feet elevation on open pier foundations. The Morris residence had been raised to 0.3 feet below the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) and the Pilgrim residence had been raised 1.4 feet below the BFE. Damages from the 1993 floods were caused by the efforts of the local government to artificially raise the effective level of the levee to prevent damage to property on the land side. State concluded that raising these residences would not provide any significant damage reduction during subsequent flooding.
Reason 2. 44 CFR, 206.434 (b)(5)(iii) Has been determined to be the most practical, effective and environmentally sound alternative after consideration of a range of options. Although the State concluded that it is unlikely that the additional elevation of the two properties would resolve the repetitive problems related to public health and safety, the State submitted a request to have the homes elevated, as it was the only voluntary solution that could be reached with the homeowners.
The two properties are located on the river side of a levee that is below the 100 year standard. The Hazard Mitigation staff at the Iowa Emergency Management Agency determined that in the event of a major disaster or a 100 year flood event, neither property would be accessible to emergency services and would either be uninhabitable or present great risk to the inhabitants. In addition, the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) surveyed the area and the two residences and concluded that there was no feasible on-site wastewater system that could be recommend for homes located on the wet side of the levee.