Homes in Dell Rapids Could Be Demolished Due to Flooding

DELL RAPIDS, S.D.- Some homeowners in Dell Rapids could end up losing their homes as officials consider demolitions due to severe flooding.

“All the furniture is pretty much destroyed. All the couches, anything cloth and if you can get it in a washer you’re okay, but if you can’t get it in a washing machine, it’s pretty much gone,” said resident Crystal Walton.

Walton had a couple inches of water on her main floor.

“We’re hoping to not have to go back into the house because it’s so bad, but if we have to, we don’t want to have to come back to really nasty stuff to try and fix. So we’re getting everything that’s gross out of the house that we can,” said Walton. 

The future of some homes in the floodplain is unknown. Right now, the city is required by FEMA to complete a substantial damage assessment. A home that sustains damage equal to 50 percent of its total value or greater cannot be repaired to pre-flood conditions.

“At this point the city has defined around 12 properties, around a dozen approximately that have potentially reached this category,” said Justin Weiland, Dell Rapids City Administrator. 

That would leave homeowners with three choices: tear down the home, move the home, or raise the home above the floodplain elevation.

“The communities reached out to all these property owners and we’re just really at a point of working with them to try to get them proper information to help them make decisions on what to do next,” said Weiland.

The city may participate in the FEMA Buyout Program for home demolitions. It’s voluntary for property owners who would receive 75 percent of the appraised value of their home. 

“It’s then the property owner’s responsibility to do the tear down of the home, to restore the property,” said Weiland.

“The property owner brings the receipts to FEMA and then they get compensation back for 75 percent of the cost they spent for tearing the house down.”

For now it’s a waiting game while damage is assessed. The Dell Rapid City Council is meeting October 7th to further discuss theFEMA Buyout Program as an option. 

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