Plans to help Mat-Su homeowners who want to move their homes because of the rapidly eroding Matanuska River were approved by the Mat-Su borough manager Thursday night, after initially hitting a legal snag earlier in the week.
The delay involved legal language in an agreement between the Mat-Su borough and the federal government's Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Under the general agreement, the borough would get federal money to help move homes that need to be moved as the Matanuska river continues to eat away land along the riverbanks. Homeowners would pay for one-quarter of the moving costs, while the federal government picks up the rest.
The Mat-Su borough says attorneys were going over legal language in the agreement with the federal government to make sure it fit the needs of Mat-Su residents in Sutton and Butte, the two communities hardest hit by the erosion.
"We’ve got some staff working through the language, one of our concerns is we’re not sure how long its going to take to move the house to another property," said Frankie Barker, an environmental planner with the borough.
The borough says the NRCS limits the amount of time it takes to move a house can be moved to a new property.
Josh Shaver, a Butte resident, has moved his house about 30 yards up away from the river on his property, but he says he's trying to move his house to a new place outside of Wasilla.
Until the legal agreement was signed, houses in the rivers path could have been moved further away from the river, but they couldn't be taken off their property.
"Both agencies (the Mat-Su and NRCS) are trying to help me out, they’re trying there best," said Shaver. "But there does seem to be some lack of leanness that’s not allowing things to proceed swiftly in the midst of an obvious disaster where things need to happen a little quicker."
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