Buyouts still underway for flood-prone communities in Liberty County

At a meeting in May 2019, Pct. 2 Commissioner Greg Arthur (left) reviewed maps of flood-prone communities with Tyler Smith with GrantWorks.

Residents who live in the flood-prone communities of New River Lake Estates, Snake River Lake Estates, Sam Houston Lake Estates or Knights Forest are still being encouraged to sign up for property buyouts.

In November, Liberty County was approved for $6.1 million in FEMA funding through the General Land Office of Texas for the purpose of buying properties in areas that have a high probability of flooding in the future.

The County prioritized two communities as the most at risk for future flooding – New River Lake Estates and Sam Houston Lake Estates. Both communities are threatened as the roads are either at risk of washing away or are badly damaged from previous floods. The communities of Snake River Lake Estates and Knights Forest have since been included in the buyout program.

Currently, the process for buyout acquisitions is a simple phone call to Grant Works in Austin to be placed on a waiting list. In the coming months, the County is expected to begin the intake process, which includes reviewing documents and investigating claims.

“We have a lengthy list of people interested in buyouts. We are even getting requests from areas outside our target. We are planning to start at the communities to the north of the county and work our way down the Trinity River floodway,” said David Douglas, engineering administrator and grant coordinator for Liberty County.

With a $6.1 million cap in funding, the program will end when the funding is gone.

“If we don’t spend all of the money in those four communities, then we will move down the river,” Douglas said. “We are doing this on a first-come, first-served basis, so the sooner you get in the better.”

People who have signed up to be on the list will be contacted either by phone or letter. After that, they will meet with a grant representative. After a bit of investigation to determine property ownership, an auditor will assess the pre-Hurricane Harvey value. A formal offer will then be made. The property owner can then decide if they want to accept the offer. If the offer is accepted, they will be paid and be given a date by which they must be moved from the property. Liens and mortgages must be paid from the proceeds of the sale.

“There will be no haggling. There will be an official offer. If that offer is not accepted, that file will be closed and we will move on to the next person,” said Douglas. “Our hope is that people will take the money from their home and go buy another place that is not in the floodway.”

The homes and buildings on the properties purchased during the buyout program will be razed to the ground and the land will be turned over to Texas Parks and Wildlife and set aside as a natural area for wildlife. After a property is purchased through a buyout program, it can never be built on again.

Anyone interested in being placed on the buyout list should call Tyler Smith with Austin-based Grant Works by calling 512-420-0303 ext. 401 or sending email to


  1. Are you still buying property in the San Houston Lake Estates ? My name is Julie Falcone McDowell and my lots are 267 – 270 , SEC 13 , CR – 2931 & 2935 Cleveland, Tx 77327 . I can be reached at 19378447236 and my E -Mail is . Thank you for your time Julie M McDowell

  2. Are you still offering the buyouts for New River Lakes Estates, Section 2. Is there contact information available?

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