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Commissioners Approve $2 Million Towards Onion Creek Buyouts

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon for KUT
Travis County authorized $2 million towards forthcoming buyouts of homes damaged in the Onion Creek area.

Travis County Commissioners today authorized just over $2 million to buyout 40 flood-prone properties in the Onion Creek-area that were damaged in the Halloween floods.

Thirty-one homes and 9 commercial properties in the Brandt Road, Bluff Springs Road, Arroyo Doble Road and the Maha Creek area were affected or severely damaged by the floods and could be eligible for buyouts from the county.

Melinda Mallia, an environmental project manager with Travis County, says buyouts

Credit Courtesy of Travis County
A map of structures with minor (orange) and major (red) damage from last year's Oct. floods.

  will begin after appraisals and consultations with property owners. The county should be able to purchase most properties, depending on how many owners apply for the open-ended buyout program.

“We may be able to buy most of those properties that were severely affected by the floods,” Mallia says. “However, more people will be applying within the coming weeks and months. This is an ongoing program, and we know that some people are still making decisions about whether to stay and elevate or do something else to flood-proof their property or sell.”

Mallia says the 9 commercial properties could also hold up the buyout process, as the county doesn’t have a business buyout program in the Onion Creek floodplain.

“We’ve never bought commercial properties in the floodplain before,” Mallia says. “It’s not because it’s not a good idea to get them out of the floodplain, it’s just we were working with areas that didn’t have any.”

Mallia says Travis County will establish a commercial buyout for the area later this month or by early February. Commissioners approved a buyout of properties in the Timber Creek area last month.

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