Rockingham buys out last of 3 Irene-destroyed properties

SAXTONS RIVER — The mission to buy out three properties ruined in Tropical Storm Irene has been completed, as Rockingham announced Wednesday it has closed on the third property.

According to Ellen Howard, the Rockingham health officer and planning-zoning administrator, the mobile home recently bought out by the Federal Emergency Management Agency was located on Saxtons River Road before it was destroyed by the storm and washed away. An accessory garage still needs to be removed and the lot must be cleaned of loose debris. The request for proposals for the demolition and clean-up have gone out and it is posted on An asbestos inspection has already been completed.

The property must — under federal guidelines — remain as open land and cannot be developed. Howard said the floodplain level in the property’s vicinity was 6 to 7 feet above existing grade. Properties to the east and west have already been purchased by Rockingham and site clean-up is complete at those two properties, according to information from her office.

No town funds are being spent to purchase the property. FEMA funds make up 75 percent of the project and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds account for the 25 percent required match. According to Howard, the town is working with Vermont Emergency Management, which administers the FEMA portion, and with Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission and Southern Windsor Regional Commission on the CDBG portion.

This final buy-out occurred five months after Rockingham had closed on the second of three the properties. The massive volume of rain caused the nearby river to rise quickly and Ezra Dixon, the owner of a Route 121 property, was displaced from his home. The house was moved off its foundation and was ripped open, destroying all of Dixon’s belongings. Howard previously told the Reformer FEMA intended to pay $69,600 to Dixon, who Howard said still lives somewhere in the area. Howard said the basis of the money paid is the value of the home before the storm.

The property is immediately adjacent to the Barber Park Bridge.

Domenic Poli can be reached at, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.

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