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Orphan Property Acquisition

From 2012 to 2014, Storm Water Services bought 13 isolated properties, called "orphans," that were in regulated floodplains. The Orphan Property Floodplain Acquisition Plan was approved by the Board of County Commissioners in 2012.​

Vacant lot next to house
"Orphans" were houses left standing next to
vacant lots after a floodplain buyout

Previous floodplain buyouts had created a checkerboard pattern on some streets in the regulated floodplain where one house had qualified for a buyout and became a vacant lot, while the house next door did not qualify and remained standing.

Storm Water Services made offers to buy qualifying "orphan" properties to help restore larger areas of the floodplain as natural, open space. 

If all houses on a dead-end street were purchased and torn down, Storm Water Services completed a street abandonment process. The hard surface of the street was then removed and the area returned to a natural state.

Benefits to the community
Buying the orphan properties and returning the floodplain to open space benefits the public. 
  • Eliminates emergency response, garbage collection and other services to that street.
  • Removes impervious area (hard surface) from the floodplain.
  • Eliminates public safety and dumping issues sometimes associated with isolated homes.
  • Provides open space for the community and land in the floodplain for Storm Water Services to create water quality improvement features such as wetlands.