Austin OKs buyouts for 240 more Onion Creek homes

Past flooding at Onion Creek Credit: Austin Police Department

AUSTIN (KXAN) — City leaders in Austin approved money to buy 240 Southeast Austin properties at risk of flooding. City council voted Thursday to buyout the homes located in the Onion Creek watershed.

The Onion Creek area sustained heavy damage during the Halloween floods in 2013 and city officials have been working ever since to buy out several homes in the neighborhood. The same area experienced flooding in 1998 and 2001, and researchers say it could happen more often.

A map from COA's Watershed Protection showing structures at risk in 100-year floodplain
A map from COA’s Watershed Protection showing structures at risk in 100-year floodplain

A study conducted by the city’s Watershed Protection Department and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over the years recommended the city buy out 483 homes in the 25-year floodplain. Now, the focus has shifted to homes in the 100-year floodplain. In June 2014, city council approved more than $35 million to acquire about 140 properties located outside of the area at risk of flooding in the 25-year floodplain of the lower Onion Creek watershed. Acquisitions of these properties are ongoing.

But the city says 240 homes are still at risk of flooding during a 100-year flood even, about 140 of which were substantially damaged during the 2013 flood. As part of the 2015 budget, council approved funding to acquire these properties.

All told, this move will cost taxpayers up to $60 million.

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