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City Says Homes ‘Substantially Damaged’ By Harvey Will Have To Be Raised

More than 1000 homeowners will be notified this month

Allison Lee
Many homeowners are looking into home elevation, after repetitive flooding.

The city of Houston will require homes designated as “substantially damaged” by Hurricane Harvey to be elevated before they can be repaired.

Homeowners can expect to receive notice of the designation by mail, with more than 1,000 homes being notified this month.

A home receives the “substantially damage” label if Houston's Office of Public Works decides repairs will cost more than fifty percent of the home's market value. The rule applies to homes within the 100-year floodplain, where the department said more than 30,000 homes are built throughout the city.

The Office of Public Works said the notices are standard practice following floods in Houston and keep the city in compliance with federal flood insurance rules.

"We have many many homes in Houston that were built prior to when the city of Houston came into the flood insurance program,” said Carol Haddock, Director of Public Works and Engineering for the city of Houston. She said many of the affected homes were built before Houston’s first floodplain maps and regulations. Haddock add that she understands the requirement is a “harsh reality” for many homeowners.

The substantial damage notices follow Harris County's decision to tighten building regulations in unincorporated areas of the county. Haddock said the city is similarly reviewing its floodplain regulations.

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