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Rock County Board OKs home purchases

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ANN MARIE AMES
January 15, 2010
— The Rock County Board on Thursday night approved the purchase of three houses damaged in the flood of 2008.

The houses were three of five that qualified for state and federal buyout money. The county in August learned it will get $786,934 for five houses.


The three houses were valued at $160,255, $190,000 and $225,000, according to county documents. The county will demolish the houses and restore and reseed the properties.


Rock County was in charge of negotiating buyouts for flood-damaged homes outside the cities of Janesville and Beloit. County officials in 2008 identified 85 houses that could have been damaged enough by floods to qualify for the buyout program.


To qualify, the houses had to be owner-occupied residences—not vacation homes—located in the floodway. The houses had to sustain substantial damage.


“Substantial damage” means repairs would cost more than 50 percent of the house's assessed value. The “floodway” is the portion of the floodplain that holds moving water during a flood.


Federal and state regulations prohibit new construction in the floodway. So once those houses come down, nothing may be built on those properties again.


The addresses are not public record until the purchases are finalized, Dave Somppi has said. Somppi is the community development manager for the county.


The city of Janesville bought seven houses that were damaged in the flood.



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