Meade County halts grant application for Hideaway Hills

Meade County had taken the lead on applying for Federal Emergency Management Agency funds on behalf of Hideaway Hills homeowners when a sinkhole revealed there was an abandoned gypsum mine under the subdivision. The county has now stopped the federal application process.  Courtesy photo

STURGIS — Meade County has stopped the process of applying for Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funds on behalf of homeowners in the Hideaway Hills subdivision.

The commission voted unanimously Tuesday that given new information concerning awarding of federal resources they would stop the application process.

Meade County Commission Assistant Jerry Derr told the commission that representatives of Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., office had learned that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is prohibited from considering or awarding federal resources until any lawsuits concerning the homeowners is concluded.

“It appears that the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) opportunity is not a viable path to pursue for the homeowners within the Northdale Sanitary District,” Derr said.

John M. Fitzgerald, a Rapid City attorney, plans to file a civil lawsuit on behalf of nearly 120 Hideaway Hills homeowners in Fourth Circuit Court. Staff at the Meade County Clerk of Courts office on Tuesday said the case had been e-filed, but it was still being processed.

“We’ve been noticed of an intent to sue, but no paperwork to my knowledge has been filed with the clerk’s office,” Derr told commissioners.

Meade County Deputy State’s Attorney Ken Chleborad told commissioners that the case is currently in limbo.

“I did verify with the sheriff that they have not received that particular lawsuit for service upon any commissioner,” Chleborad said.

Meade County has met with the homeowners and allocated resources and funding toward the review of the grant application process because the Northdale Sanitary District has limited statutory authority in the matter.

“Meade County has sought multiple sources of relief for the impacted homeowners via state and federal offices, as well as local service/private organizations,” Derr said.

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