Proposal to buy then tear-down flood-prone FW homes causes friction

Plan to buy and demolish homes

FORT WORTH -- For 25 years now, John Morris has called the Arlington Heights neighborhood of Fort Worth his home.

"The history of this area, this used to be Camp Bowie," he said. "This is a very unique neighborhood, and we feel very strongly we want to maintain the character of the neighborhood."

But he fears that character and old-time charm may soon be at risk.

Year after year, devastating flash floods have wreaked havoc on homes in this area, near Interstate 30 and Hulen.

"I can live with flooded streets, but I can't live with flooded homes," said City Council member Dennis Shingleton, who represents the area.

So next month, Fort Worth City Council will vote on whether they should apply for a FEMA grant that would allow them to buy flood-prone homes from willing homeowners and then tear them down.

"We’re not taking anyone’s home that doesn’t want to sell," Shingleton said.

He says the idea of having grassy areas instead of homes will allow the flood water to flow without risking damage to homes or people's safety.

"It's been described as taking teeth out of a mouth," said Morris, who sits on the neighborhood association board.

He says the board is against the idea of buying and demolishing homes and replacing them with small parks.

"They're not dealing with the real issue, which is improving drainage," Morris said.

Council member Shingleton says at least eight homeowners in the neighborhood have already expressed interest in possibly selling their homes to the city. He also says they’ve identified far more homes than that at risk of flooding.

One such homeowner told News 8 he wants to sell his home to the city because no one else will buy it or lease it because of flooding issues.

Shingleton said the city has, and continues to look at other solutions.

Morris worries this particular possible solution will end up pitting neighbor against neighbor in the process.

City Council will hear a presentation on the topic at pre-council on Nov. 8, and will vote on whether to apply for the grant at the regular City Council meeting on Nov. 15.

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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