ALLEGANY COUNTY, MD - Allegany County’s mitigation initiative contributed to the long-term endeavors by earmarking funds to relocate units for an acquisition project. Despite numerous setbacks, the project reached a successful conclusion due to the County and its contractors.
In the spring of 1998, the review and approval process began with the accumulation of supporting cost/benefit data. The project called for the relocation of units within a manufactured home park and then returning the area to a natural habitat/open space. The units were all located within the 100- year flood boundary of Evitts Creek and had experience flooding numerous times in the past.
As the units were being evaluated for relocation, owners sought alternate pad sites. Only four found available pads, the remainder were unable to find vacant pads in other area manufactured home parks. Furthermore, the units did not meet the new zoning regulations due to their age and construction and an evaluation of the homes indicated that most were too fragile to move safely. By April 1999, the project had to be restructured to acquire the units.
What seemed to be a straightforward purchase and relocation took over two years at a final cost of $390,000, double the amount of funding set aside by the county. FEMA expressed concern for the continued viability of the project, but the County was willing to continue because the staff strongly believed in relocating the units outside the 100-year floodplain.
The County's relentless outreach to the residents and the use of contract personnel well-versed in the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act, were the key reasons the process moved forward with the support of the tenants.
By the winter of 1999, the last manufactured home was removed from the site and by June 2000, every family was relocated to affordable housing and the manufactured home park was in the process of being returned to a natural state.