Government of the United States Virgin Islands
Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority
NOTICE OF EARLY PUBLIC REVIEW
Floodplain Management Executive Order (EO) 11988
The Government of the Virgin Islands has received federal Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under Title 1 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, (PL93-383), which it proposes to allocate to various projects throughout the Territory.
Given the limited emergency and temporary repair funds available to rentals thus far, providers of rental units on the islands are at varying stages in their rebuilding process depending on the extent of damage and resources available to date. The Territory seeks to leverage FEMA funding from both the Public Assistance Program and the Permanent Housing Construction Program to support landlords rehabilitating much needed affordable rental units. The Rental Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program will be implemented to cover eligible costs for repair and replacement of damage to real property; replacement of disaster-impacted residential appliances; resilience and mitigation; and environmental health hazard mitigation costs related to the repair of disaster-impacted rental property. Rentals identified as substantially damaged will receive funding for reconstruction. Other solutions may be considered in program policies, once units are rehabilitated or rebuilt, to continue to preserve affordable housing in the Territory.
VIHFA, as the designated entity acting on behalf of the Territory, is conducting an evaluation, as required by Executive Order 11988, in accordance with HUD regulations at 24 CFR Part 55.20 Subpart C “Procedures for Making Determinations on Floodplain Management”, to determine the potential effect that activity in the 100-year floodplain (hereinafter referred to as the floodplain) will have on the human environment.
Floodplains are areas adjacent to rivers, ponds, and lakes that flood periodically. They are hydrologically important, environmentally sensitive, and ecologically productive areas that perform many natural functions. Floodplains benefit wildlife by creating a variety of habitats for fish and other animals. In addition, they are important because of their ability to protect water quality, recharge groundwater and to store and convey water.
While the process of confirming site-specific locations within each island is currently in progress, some of the potential applications may be located within the floodplain. All structures reconstructed within a floodplain will be constructed on the same footprint and elevated (if required). Other mitigation measures will be determined on a case-by-case basis if elevation is not an option.
There are three primary purposes for this notice: (1) to provide an opportunity for persons who may be affected by activities in floodplains and those who have an interest in the protection of the natural environment to express their concerns and provide information about these areas; (2) to serve as a public educational tool whereby the dissemination of information about floodplains can facilitate and enhance Federal efforts to reduce the risks associated with the occupancy and modification of these special areas; and (3) to inform those who may be put at greater or continued risk if the Federal government determines that it will support projects located in a floodplain.
In this regard, the public is invited to submit its comments with respect to whether there are practical alternatives to these projects. The public may also submit suggestions for minimizing the potential impact. Written comments must be received by VIHFA on or before February 13, 2020. Comments may also be submitted via e-mail to environmenta[email protected]. No comments will be accepted after the stated date.
The public may review the records between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday at Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority’s office located at 3202 Demarara Plaza Suite 200, St. Thomas, VI 00802-6447 or 100 Lagoon Complex, Suite 4, Frederiksted, VI 00840-3912. For further information about this Notice, please contact Mrs. Antoinette Fleming, CDBG-DR Director, at (340) 777-4432.
Daryl Griffith, Executive Director
V.I. Housing Finance Authority