FEMA money used to buy out pricey landslide-damaged homes 

click to enlarge This map shows the areas of Colorado Springs that are said to be susceptible to landslides. - COLORADO GEOLOGICAL SURVEY
  • Colorado Geological Survey
  • This map shows the areas of Colorado Springs that are said to be susceptible to landslides.

The first buyouts of homes damaged by shifting soils due to heavy rainfall in 2015 are moving ahead, but costs are still being finalized for acquisition and demolition of the three luxury homes in the city's southwest area that are first on the list.

On Oct. 23, Colorado Springs City Council approved a resolution allowing buyouts to proceed on 4860, 4880 and 4890 Broadmoor Bluffs Drive with money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and state and local matches. They are the first homes to reach acquisition stage in the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, which gave the city $5.9 million.

While a city staff summary states each home is valued at more than $50,000, El Paso County Assessor records show the value of each at $200 due to severe damage caused by landslides. Pre-landslide values of the homes ranged from $506,000 to $697,000, assessor records show.

Staff summaries don't say how much each homeowner would receive, but a sample spreadsheet showed homeowners have to contribute about 24 percent of the total cost, which includes demolition and acquisition costs. The city's contribution will come from in-kind staff time.

There are 21 applicants for the buyout, but the grant provides enough money for only eight homes. The land under the bought-out homes, about 3 acres, will be turned into open space in perpetuity.

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