Residents arrived at Tuesday night's Idyllwild Homeowners Association meeting with a lot of questions and left with almost the same number of questions.
Although the future of the subdivision remains up for debate, residents were told that they can begin to pursue a federal buyout.
One resident asked the crowd of about 180 if they would be interested in pursuing a buyout from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
An overwhelming majority of people in the room raised their hands.
However, if the subdivision will qualify for a buyout remains an unresolved issue.
Thomas Larkin, an assistant for U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, explained that the process to obtain a buyout is lengthy.
Part of the process involves the Iowa City Council approving a buyout application. Then the state prioritizes those applications and sends them to FEMA, who makes the final decision.
"We understand your dilemma," Larkin told the crowd of residents. "But you have to understand that the buyout process is a lengthy one."
The City Council will meet soon to discuss the issue of federal buyout applications likely for several neighborhoods, according to Assistant Iowa City Manager Dale Helling.
Almost all Idyllwild homeowners did not have flood insurance. Resident Sri Duvvuri said she was told she could not obtain flood insurance.
"There are a lot of people here who were told they could not get flood insurance," she said.
Bill Haggerty, an Idyllwild resident, asked if the homes still will be charged property taxes.
"It's ridiculous to pay property taxes when we can't get into our damn places," Haggerty said.
Helling said whether residents affected by flooding will pay property taxes is up to the City Council.
Gary Colton, public information specialist for the federal Small Business Administration, said individual homeowners and the Idyllwild Homeowners Association could qualify for federal low-interest loans to clean up and rebuild the subdivision through SBA.
He stressed that the first thing homeowners need to do is register with FEMA to begin the process.
Idyllwild board of directors president Sally Cline said that Tuesday night's meeting was the first of many that will be held to address residents' concerns.
Wednesday, June 25
Idyllwild Neighbors to Seek FEMA Buyout Remedy?
Knowing a number of people in this neighborhood, it is not unreasonable to think that a buyout is one solution to address what should happen for the best of all concerned, given the poor information that led to the development of the land in the first place. From the Press-Citizen: