Reporting Steve Large
SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A family’s Sacramento home burned down and now it’s abandoned because federal regulations won’t allow them to rebuild.
It’s an unlikely consequence created by FEMA’s flood zone laws in Natomas.
Walking back inside isn’t easy for Jennifer Taylor.
“Mostly just depression, frustration and depression,” she said. “No one else should ever have to go through this.”
Four months after the fire gutted her family’s home, it still sits destroyed.
FEMA declared the neighborhood a flood zone in 2008 – 10 years after the Taylors moved in. Federal law won’t allow any property there to be rebuilt if the cost of repairs is more than 50 percent of the home’s value.
“For us, we couldn’t spend any more than $35,000 to fix our home and the cost of repairs with all damage is over $190,000,” she said.
FEMA’s regulation would require the Taylor’s home to be rebuilt 20 feet above ground, an added expense her insurance wouldn’t cover.
Burnt family mementos are still scattered in the rubble, including a photo of their now 3-year-old during Christmas last year.
The Taylor family is now fighting Congress to change the law, petitioning at grocery stores to allow them back in their home.
“If you’re allowed to buy here, you’re allowed to live here, you should be allowed to fix your home,” Jennifer said.
FEMA released a statement Tuesday reading: “FEMA at both the regional and national level has exhaustively investigated every legal method within our discretion to see if there is any relief we can offer to the Taylor family in their current situation. Present law simply does not allow for any such exception.”
That’s not good enough for Jennifer.
“It’s just sad that a regulation like this can literally make families homeless in the United States,” she said.