Voluntary Property Acquisition to Reduce Flood Risk

Voluntary property acquisition is one tool to reduce flood risk contained in the FY 2023-2032 Capital Improvement Plan, approved by the Arlington County Board in July 2022. 

The County is purchasing some properties on a voluntary basis to provide overland relief or expand the storm system capacity and reduce flood risk to the community.  

What is overland relief?   Overland relief is a safe overflow path for runoff during storms, when stormwater systems may become overwhelmed.

The program is in the early stages, and will by necessity take place in phases, as properties are acquired.

Phase 1

The initial phase is removal of the home and restoration of the lot following demolition.  The County hosts a community meeting prior to the home demolition with information about the demolition process and the site landscaping, plant selections, fences, and any other site issues.  The County communicates with the neighborhood during the demolition process. The County also creates a web page about each demolition project.   

Phase 1 general process:

  • County acquires the property
  • County receives permits to remove the house
  • County staff meet with community prior to demolition, to share information about the demolition process and the site landscaping, plant selections, fences, and any other site issues
  • County contractors disconnect utilities and complete the demolition of the house (in some cases hazardous materials will be removed just prior to demolition)
  • Following home demolition, contractors will fill in the basement (if there was one) and regrade the property
  • Fences may be retained on site, if they were present
  • County contractor will replant the with grass initially
  • County contractors will maintain the site by mowing grass, trimming trees and vegetation, completing repairs, and clearing snow from sidewalks

Note:   The County cannot allow salvaging of materials from the properties due to liability concerns.

Phase 2

The second phase of the property acquisition program is the future use of the properties, which will include a community engagement process.   This process is still being developed, but will get underway in 2024. 

In considering future uses for these properties, it is important to remember that these properties are located in corridors that have and will continue to experience high-intensity, high-volume flash-floods during extreme storm events.  Any items or structures placed on the properties will be washed away in those storms.  In addition, these properties are located near existing trunk storm sewer lines, and therefore they may be needed for additional underground stormwater system improvements.

Read some FAQs about voluntary property acquisition

Spout Run

4437 N. 18th St

4433 N. 18th St 

4423 N. 18th St

4434 N. 19th St

Torreyson Run

5840 18th St North

Crossman Run

6415 24th St North – completed