Austin spends nearly $5 million to buy 10 homes in the Onion Creek Watershed at risk of flooding

Austin City Council approved a nearly $5 million purchase for 10 homes that are at risk of flooding in the Onion Creek Watershed.

Austin City Council approved a nearly $5 million purchase for 10 homes that are at risk of flooding in the Onion Creek Watershed.

Austin spent nearly $5 million on Thursday to purchase 10 District 5 properties that are at risk of flooding. The purchase, approved by Austin City Council, is part of the city’s continued flood mitigation efforts around the Onion Creek Watershed.

A map of the 10 properties purchased by Austin on Thursday. The city of Austin purchased 10 properties on Thursday.[/caption]

The properties—4601 and 4603 S. Pinehurst Drive; 4602 Tamarisk Cove; 11109 Champions Ln.; 11218, 11244, 11253, 11256, 11260, and 11262 Pinehurst Drive—sold for their fair market value. Though no specific numbers were given, according to city documents the total purchase of the 10 properties could be as high as $4.9 million.

The Onion Creek Watershed experienced intense flooding in 1998, 2001, 2013 and 2015. The homes purchased on Thursday were among the 140 identified by the city’s Watershed Protection Department as at risk of flooding in a 100-year flood event. A 100-year flood event is a measure of severity, a flooding event experts project is bound to happen once every 100 years.

The prioritization process for the buyouts focuses on flood risk and how long the property owner has owned the property. According to city documents, each of the 10 properties sustained major damage during the October 2013 flood.

The properties are part of the Onion Creek Homeowners’ Association, but since the city intends to use them for nonresidential purposes—purposes which have yet to be clarified—the homeowner’s association has agreed to exempt the properties from dues and assessments during the city’s ownership.
By Christopher Neely
Christopher Neely is Community Impact's Austin City Hall reporter. A New Jersey native, Christopher moved to Austin in 2016 following years of community reporting along the Jersey Shore. His bylines have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, USA Today and several other local outlets along the east coast.


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