Orange County considers buying out homeowners in flood-prone Orlo Vista

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Orange County is considering buying out homeowners who live in a neighborhood ravaged by Hurricane Ian.

Eight months after the storm, some homes and land in Orlo Vista still look like the storm ripped through yesterday.


Now some homeowners could have the option of getting bought out of their properties.

Calvin Williams said about 5 feet of water flooded his Orlo Vista home during the storm.

“My house was full of stuff, about $200k worth of stuff, but now nothing is in there now,” he said. “Everything is gone.”

Read: Orange County to start 2nd project to try to alleviate Orlo Vista flooding issues

Commissioner Mike Scott said to potentially help homeowners like Williams, the county is looking into the Federal Hazard Mitigation Assitance grants.

“(That) will allow us to offer the opportunity for those who want to sell their homes to sell their homes, and then that would be used to improve the flood mitigation,” Scott said.

Read: Work begins on $23M Orlo Vista flood mitigation project

The federal government would contribute 75% of the cost, and the county would cover the rest to pay market value for the properties.

“It’s just flood-prone areas,” Scott said. “The grant from FEMA does not allow us to use it or even sell it, and so it will be owned by the county in perpetuity.”

Homes would be demolished and replaced with parks or stormwater management and the county is then responsible for maintenance.

Read: Orlo-Vista community to hear about plans to prevent flooding from major storms

But Williams said he is not interested in selling his home.

“I want that money to fix it, not tear it down. I want to fix it,” he said.

Joining this process is optional for homeowners, but a certain amount of people have to express interest to determine how much the county will get from FEMA.

The county is expected to submit its interest application by the end of August.

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.

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