They were flooded back in 2011. Property owners had been interested in elevating their homes above flood stage to avoid tearing them down or risk going through another flood.
Federal and state officials had previously approved 15 other properties for possible elevation. The advantage of elevating instead of taking a FEMA buyout for the village is that its tax base would remain intact.
"It's a long and painful process. People want to get going. I have two or three homeowners who would start tomorrow if we had the paperwork in order, but we're still waiting for the contracts to be signed by Albany. I would say it's significant progress. I've been waiting for this one particular approval to come down from FEMA now for a while now," said Owego Mayor Kevin Millar.
Millar says between 15 and 20 homes in the village may be bought out through FEMA. If people accept a buyout, FEMA will give them 75 percent of their home's value and the state will cover the remaining 25 percent.
If a property owner decides to elevate, FEMA will also pay 75 percent of the cost, but the owner has to pay the remaining 25 percent.
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