FEMA OKs buyout for house destroyed by Irene
By SANDI SWITZER
Correspondent | April 06,2013
DANBY — A home destroyed by Tropical Storm Irene has been approved for buyout through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s hazardous mitigation program.
FEMA and state funds will be used to purchase the Hinton property on Danby-Pawlet Road, according to grant administrator Robert Ennis of Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission.
“All the funds are there,” he said Thursday at a Danby Select Board meeting. Ennis said FEMA will provide 75 percent of the fair market value the day before the disaster and the state will pay 25 percent.
With the buyout approved, the municipality will need to have the property appraised with grant funds used to cover those expenses, he explained.
The appraisal is then submitted to the state if the value is acceptable to the homeowner, Ennis said.
Funds are awarded to the community and used to purchase the home. The structure will be demolished, and the site cleaned up and turned into green space.
“Demo costs are covered by the grant and the property will remain open space after that,” Ennis said.
Site work with guidance from the state will be conducted in order to improve flood plain functions.
“The intent of the program is to mitigate future flood damage,” he said.
Ennis acknowledged it had been a lengthy process and extended his appreciation to municipal officials and the property owner for their patience.
“A few more forms and a few more steps and we’re at least at the closing,” he said.
A nonprofit group seeking funds has won state approval, but FEMA is still reviewing the application, the grant administrator said
Danby-Mount Tabor Historical Society submitted documents after the group’s Millbrook House collapsed into the river during Irene. The historical society purchased the structure — once owned by Nobel Prize-winning author Pearl S. Buck — just 10 months before the tropical storm.
A silver set and Bible owned by Micah Vail, one of the town’s earliest settlers, were lost with the building. Silas Griffith artifacts, Pearl Buck’s ceremonial desk, a display case from the Old Stone Store, an original pie shelf from Bonds Hotel, merchant William Pierce’s diaries, a ledger from a blacksmith shop once located on Burrow Hill Road, photographs, postcards and documents were among other items lost.