Jacksonville proposes buying out flood-prone homes in South Shores

Residents say tidal flooding gets worse every year

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – People who live in Jacksonville's South Shores neighborhood said they have been overwhelmed with tidal flooding for years, and now the city is considering buying those homes so residents can relocate. 

Residents told News4Jax that flooding is an every day problem, and tidal flooding is worse every year. But one resident said the city recently put a flyer on his door, and those of his neighbors, to see if they want to sell their homes and move.

VIEW: Flyer for South Shores residents | Maps of South Shores flood zones

As of Monday, the South Shores neighborhood hadn't seen rain in days. But Geoff Galant said the streets are covered in water from tidal flooding daily, and he's tired of it.

"It's frustrating. It's not a hurricane. It's not a nor’easter. It's just a high tide, Galant told News4Jax. "Any time, there tends to be water in the street and you don’t want to have to step through water to get to your home."

Galant owns three homes in this neighborhood. In September, water washed into his homes and others during Hurricane Irma. The water was so high that kayakers were seen floating down the street.

Two months later, dump trucks are still picking up storm debris. 

"A lot of the neighbors have complained for years and it doesn't seem to like anything has happened yet," Galant said. 

Now, the complaints may have a solution. According to City Councilwoman Lori Boyer, Jacksonville and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are considering buying  73 homes in the tidal flood-prone neighborhood. 

Boyer said the flooding is more than a nuisance. 

"It has became a public safety for us because if we cant get police vehicles or a fire truck to someone's home in the event of an emergency, that is a problem," Boyer said.

If most of the 73 homeowners agree, Boyer said, FEMA would give 75 percent of the buyout money, the city would provide 25 percent, the houses would be bought at fair market value and then the homeowners would move out.

If most residents agree and move out, Boyer said, the homes in the flood-prone section of South Shores would be torn down, and that area would be returned to marsh. 

Galant said if this happens, the program could begin within six months.

People who live in the South Shores community will meet with Boyer at 6 p.m. Thursday at the San Marco Preservation Hall. 

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