Alderman Mike Bates said the city should not proceed with a request to FEMA for additional buyout funds for homes affected in the 2008 flood.
At the board’s previous meeting, Alderman Ed Gass asked the city to apply to FEMA for homes not included in the first buyout, but Bates said he strongly opposes making the request.
The city recently concluded its reporting responsibility in the buyout of 21 homes from the incident.
Bates said the buyout and demolishing homes combined with the practice of raising some homes above the new floodplain and constructing new elevated homes has created a confusing image in the Old Town area.
“At the last meeting we discussed further buyouts,” Bates said. “I would be opposed to going forward without some unified policy. As a taxpayer, regardless of where money comes from, it does not make sense to me to allow new houses to be built and buying them out at the same time.”
Bates said there is a down side to buying out homes located in an area prone to flooding.
“When we buy the home, it’s gone forever,” he said. “You make holes in your neighborhood.”
Bates would like for the city to come up with a determination of what the older area of town should look like.
“This goes hand-in-hand with the comprehensive plan,” Bates said “If we want to buy out homes, we should block new development in terms of not issuing new building permits.”
Since the flood, more than a dozen affordable homes have been built on elevated ground, placing them above the level of a 100-year flood.
Mayor Herb Adams said the reason that Pacific offered the buyout in a large portion of Old Town was not all through choice, but because of what the government was willing to do and because of negotiations.
“Pacific had a different thought than some communities that seek buyout funds for anything in a flood way,” Adams explained. “Pacific offered a different argument and asked the government to buy out homes in the floodplain.”
It might not be possible, Adams said, to set a policy until the city knows what the state and federal government are willing to do.
Bates asked the city to hold off on applying for future funds until at least part of the comprehensive plan is completed.
No formal action was taken following the discussion.