2016 UNNAMED STORMS / FLOOD RECOVERY REPLACEMENT AND RELOCATION OF MANUFACTURED HOUSING UNITS ACTIVITY
LA OFFICE OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT / DISASTER RECOVERY UNIT FLOODPLAINS and WETLANDS NOTICE EXPLANTION REVIEW NOTICE
The Louisiana Office of Community Development / Disaster Recovery Unit (OCD/DRU), under the Division of Administration intends to carry out actions which may affect or be affected by the 100-year floodplain and wetlands and seeks to involve the public in the decision-making process. The State of Louisiana is proposing to use disaster recovery funds through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to assist in the replacement and relocation of eligible manufactured housing units (MHUs) that were damaged by the flooding disasters in 2016. This action could assist homeowners in Acadia, Allen, Ascension, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Calcasieu, Caldwell, Catahoula, Claiborne, De Soto, East Baton Rouge, East Carroll, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Franklin, Grant, Iberia, Iberville, Jackson, Jefferson Davis, La Salle, Lafayette, Lincoln, Livingston, Madison, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Pointe Coupee, Rapides, Red River, Richland, Sabine, St. Helena, St. James, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Union, Vermillion, Vernon, Washington, Webster, West Baton Rouge, West Carroll, West Feliciana, and Winn Parishes.
The activities of the Restore LA program may include the purchase or reimbursement of cost associated with the purchase of new MHUs to replace MHUs that were damaged by the 2016 storms as well as the transport, set-up, site work and installation of the MHU at a new location. The new MHU location may be within a manufactured housing park, on a vacant residential lot or on land owned by the applicant. In some cases, the relocation will require utility infrastructure and may include excavation for septic systems and/or installation of subsurface or overhead utility lines typical of that for a single-family dwelling connecting to municipal services. Restore Louisiana’s policy has concluded this MHU replacement and relocation action to be the best option for each eligible applicant.
In accordance with Executive Order 11988, The OCD/DRU has determined that the proposed relocation activities could affect up to a total of 10 acres upon scattered properties with a portion of these relocations anticipated to be located within the 100-year floodplain. In accordance with Executive Order 11990, the total number of homes and combined acreage of these properties that are proximal to wetlands listed in the National Wetland Inventory will be reviewed on an individual basis after being identified. However, at this time, given the nature of the proposed activities and previous correspondence with state and federal zero acres of wetlands impact are anticipated as a result of these relocations. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be notified of individual locations as they are identified and areas considered to potentially impacts wetlands and/or waters of the U.S. will not be awarded.
Various alternatives to relocating these MHUs in a floodplain were evaluated, described below. Alternative 1 would be to re-locate these properties to areas outside of the floodplain or wetlands. This would require abandonment of previously developed lots and structures, and purchase and development of land outside of the floodplain, assuming such land were available.
A number of obstacles make such an alternative financially unfeasible including additional cost burdens upon homeowners to purchase properties, inconsistency of this action with the States' Action Plan, and the prohibitive costs of additional infrastructure and distances to jobs and services. Finally, re-locating small portions of existing communities outside of the floodplain would not provide any significant benefit to the value of the floodplain since abandonment of only certain homes in this program while leaving other homes in the floodplain would not enhance floodplain value.
Alternative 2 would be to construct multi-family housing at specified locations in the general vicinity of the affected communities. This alternative was considered to be impractical and infeasible due to costs, the fact that it would not result in accomplishing the objectives of rebuilding homes in existing communities, the small number of units and the scattered locations across the state. Further, there are no market initiatives, private entities or funding at this time in the vicinity of the existing communities to accommodate such an action.
Alternative 3 is to not approve any action at this time. This “No Action” alternative, would result in the properties remaining unoccupied or leave damaged MHUs vulnerable to future flood damage. As such, this alternative would result in the degeneration of the properties and contribute towards increases in blight and disrepair to existing communities. As with alternatives 1 and 2, this alternative would not meet the objectives of the Action Plan or the RLHP program.
In accordance with 24 CFR 55.20.g.1, the applicant has determined that were no alternatives identified to re-locating the units outside the floodplain and wetlands and that the proposed action is the most practicable alternative. For this action which is limited, specific mitigation/modification such as elevation will be necessary to minimize adverse impacts and preserve natural and beneficial values to the floodplain and wetlands.
A full description of this action can be reviewed at the Louisiana Office of Community Development Office/Disaster Recovery Unit (LOCD/DRU) at 617 N. Third Street, Baton Rouge, Louisiana on weekdays between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm or by calling Ann Herring of LOCD/DRU at 225-219-9620. LOCD/DRU can be reached by telecommunications for the deaf through the Louisiana Relay Service at 1-800-367-8939 (TDD). Special accommodations should be requested 3 days prior to the meeting by calling (225) 219-9620. Comments will be received until July 20, 2018.
Date of publication: July 11, 2018 OR July 12, 2018.
Publish in the St. Helena Echo on Wednesday, July 11, 2018.