Pima County officials looking to buy several properties in Catalina Foothills

KOLD News 6-6:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 8:54 PM MST
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CATALINA FOOTHILLS, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - After decades of being in the danger zone, Pima County officials are now looking into buying out some high-priced homes in flood-prone areas.

This area mainly impacts residents in the Catalina Foothills along the Finger Rock Wash. In early August, flooding was so bad, it forced evacuations. Some residents, still haven’t been able to come back to their homes.

Joe Broschak is doing everything he can to prepare for the next big storm.

“You wake up and it’s a constant reminder. You are living in fear of the next big rainstorm that’s going to bring four-five feet of water down finger rock wash,” he said.

He’s built walls and laid down sandbags, hoping that his preparation pays off when the next big rainstorm hits.

He noted that last year he was out of his home for seven weeks due to flooding from the storms.

Now, the Pima County Flood Control District is looking to take action. Joseph Cuffari with the city says they are considering buying several properties in the area.

“These homes in this area a lot of these homes are impacted already by a locally mapped flood plane. So, the Bighorn fire may have contributed and may have exacerbated those flows,” Cuffari said.

He said this will help create more floodplain space along the wash, and less trouble for homeowners.

He said his team already has a plan after an offer is made saying: “We make an offer to buy the home, and if it’s successful, if the flood control district does buy it we actually demolish that home and remove that threat from future flooding scenarios.”

A lot of the homes you see in the neighborhood impacted by the wash were built in the 1960s. Cuffari added that most aren’t in compliance with today’s standards, such as flood and foundation requirements.

He said they do have a budget to work with, but it is limited. He said they have “about a million dollars allocated a year” from the board of supervisors.

He also added, “being in the Catalina Foothills those are higher valued homes.”

As of Wednesday, two homeowners have already submitted applications for the program.

You can read more about the program and what it offers here.

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