Building Permit Fees Waived For Tulsa County Flood Victims

Tuesday, June 11th 2019, 5:35 pm
By: Amy Slanchik

Resources are available for flood victims in the Town and Country neighborhood of Sand Springs along 145th West Avenue.

FEMA, the Salvation Army, and about 10 other volunteer groups are all on standby, ready to help. District 2 Chief Deputy County Commissioner John Fothergill said the resources should be available all week, and longer if needed.

"There's a whole hive of activity going on out here and progress is being made,” Fothergill said.

But down the road at Betty and Doyle Wilson's home, it’s quiet, as the couple looks at their life in their front yard.

"When we lay down at night we have each other. And that's what counts,” Betty said.

This is the second flood the couple is recovering from. The Wilsons rebuilt after the 1986 flood and decided to get flood insurance. After several feet of water filled their home, they plan to rebuild again.

"If we can, if possible. And we just have to leave it in the Lord's hands and let Him figure out what's best for us,” Betty said.

As others think about what's next, Fothergill says he's getting questions from homeowners about government buyout programs. He said the county does not offer any.

"I've heard the FEMA process is two years on the buyout if it's quick, and four years if it's not,” Fothergill said.

FEMA said the state must make a request for homeowners to go through the buyout process.

Fothergill said residents living in the 100-year flood plain will need to have an assessment made by county inspectors. Inspectors will determine if 50 percent or more of the home was damaged.

If less than 50% of the home was damaged, homeowners will be able to rebuild their home the same as it was before.

But, he said, if 50 percent or more of the home was damaged, homeowners must raise their home one foot higher than it was before. Homeowners who do not live in the 100-year flood plain can go ahead and rebuild once they receive a permit.

While people are rebuilding, Fothergill said they will be allowed to live in an RV.

The county is waiving all permit fees for flood victims, which could help save hundreds of dollars. That lets people like Betty focus on other things, like making their house feel like a home once again.

"I'm kind of thrilled that I get to get new furniture,” Betty said. “That's the lady in me. I want new furniture.”

There's still a lot of cleaning up to do in this neighborhood. If you'd like to volunteer, come out this weekend with rubber boots and work gloves. You can get a tetanus shot at the county health department.