Friday, August 19, 2022

Five Florence-damaged properties totaling $1.2 million approved for acquisition in Brunswick County

With three properties located in Stoney Creek and two in the county, FEMA approves Hurricane Florence buyouts averaging $241,000 per property.

Flooded water from the Waccamaw River makes its way through southern Brunswick County. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna Ferebee)
Flooded water from the Waccamaw River makes its way through southern Brunswick County. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna Ferebee)

BRUNSWICK COUNTY — Brunswick County could acquire and demolish five residential properties damaged during Hurricane Florence, with four located in Leland.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced state and federal acquisition approval earlier this month tied to $19 million between 130 structures in North Carolina.

Related: State specialist says Pender’s ‘rock solid’ FEMA buyout application among first submitted. So why the delay?

FEMA’s announcement of approvals through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program marks the first step in a lengthy process, according to North Carolina Department of Public Safety spokesperson Keith Acree.

“It could be a year or more before property changes hands and demolition work begins,” according to Acree.

Surveys, appraisals, title work, and legal and environmental reviews must be conducted prior to an offer being made to homeowners, according to Acree. Once all work is complete, the properties will be forever designated as green space, per deeded restrictions.

Brunswick properties

In Brunswick County, FEMA approved paying 75% of its approved acquisition applications, totaling $904,299.75. The state could kick in the remaining 25%, at $301,433.25. In total, county buyouts approved at this point equal $1,205,733, or an average $214,000 per property (specific costs per property are not yet available).

The approvals represent FEMA’s fast-tracked round of the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program application process. With this phase, applicants were encouraged to only submit properties with the highest likelihood of approval and most significant damage under federal guidelines.

According to FEMA’s formal award letter to Brunswick County, four properties eligible for acquisition are located in Leland and one is in Bolivia.

Brunswick County redacted property addresses listed in the letter provided to Port City Daily, citing the confidentiality of property owners “whose participation in a potential buyout is voluntary and not yet finalized,” according to county spokesperson Meagan Kascsak.

The county must front acquisition and cleanup costs, but will later be reimbursed by the state for the approved-upon state and federal amounts. John Shirk, Brunswick County Floodplain Administrator, said the acquisition is simply a real estate transaction.

In May, Shirk said three of the five properties the county applied for were located in the Leland neighborhood, Stoney Creek. The remaining two properties were located in unincorporated Brunswick County, Shirk said at the time.

Demolition and debris removal work on the five approved properties must be completed by September 2022, according to FEMA’s approval letter.

Send tips and comments to Johanna Ferebee at

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