Lisle adopts policy on removing flood-prone properties

Lisle trustees have approved a resolution on acquiring and demolishing flood plain properties. The policy gives the village its own funding source beyond federal, state or county grants to remove properties in Lisle that are at risk of sustaining serious flood damage.

"What we're trying to do is to acquire these properties because it's going to benefit the village, in the long run, to not have these as a burden on our community," Trustee Stephen Winz said before the vote on Monday.

Typically, Lisle would apply for grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency or other government entities for buyouts of properties facing severe flood damage. The resolution says Lisle would continue to prioritize federal funding from FEMA's Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities and Hazard Mitigation Grant Programs before accessing the newly designated village funding.

The new policy advises Lisle to budget up to $2 million in acquiring and demolishing flood plain properties when federal or state grants fall short. It also designates that the Lisle village manager will negotiate the final acquisition value with property owners.

The policy also outlines the criteria, documentation and application process for property owners of structures within the 100-year regulatory flood plain. Such buildings are also categorized into four qualifying tiers such as "Substantially Damaged" for Tier 1 and "Repetitive Loss" for Tier 2. The local application process would be open from May 15 to July 15 each calendar year.

"Lisle floods when it rains," Trustee Dan Grecco said. "This gives us more flexibility and a clear message to future boards and to residents that are located in these locations that we are looking to help."

The policy was approved in a 5-1 vote. Trustee Cathy Cawiezel voted no, and Lisle Mayor Chris Pecak abstained.

The policy was debated for nearly 45 minutes when Trustee Mary Jo Mullen sought to insert an amendment to the funding guidelines. Mullen asked for the fair market value of the property before a flood to be considered - as with most federal grants - should a major flooding event occur after an application was made with the village.

Rather than codify this instruction, most trustees leaned more on the side of Mullen's amendment to be more a suggestion for future village boards faced with a major flood.

"If a flood occurs, the village will consider - if it's appropriate - to use fair market value pre-flood event," Mullen said. "It's not if the next big flood happens, but when."

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