One community furious with FEMA flood zone proposal

One community furious with FEMA flood zone proposal

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – A FEMA proposal could cost some of you a lot of money if your home falls into a revised flood zone map.

The demand from some homeowners to be excluded from new flood maps is growing stronger following Hurricane Matthew..

Harbortowne, a neighborhood in Myrtle Beach near the Intracoastal Waterway, falls under the new proposal from the government.

The Harbortowne neighborhood and all the neighborhoods north and south of the Intracoastal are being affected, even if they stayed dry after the hurricane.

That proposal is the result of a 10-year study to change flood plans in specific neighborhoods. But the community is fighting it.

FEMA and the Department of Natural Resources want to add neighborhoods like Harbortowne into an AE-13 flood plan.
AE-13 is a high-risk flood zone neighborhood not currently in a flood zone or required to have flood insurance.

But the neighborhood said, "No" because their neighborhood doesn't flood. Homes in the Harbortowne neighborhood stayed dry during the 2015 floods and even this year in Hurricane Matthew.

"Harbortowne does not need to have its flood zones changes. It fits the neighborhood perfectly where it is right now and what happened in this storm which is being compared to the 1928 storm that hit this area," Harbortowne Volunteer HOA President Becky Warren said.

There are 134 homes in this neighborhood and right now they're not required to have flood insurance. Of the 134 homes, nine are on the AE-7 flood plan, because they're on the waterway and prone to some flooding.

The other homes are fighting the issue because they're nowhere near the waterway and haven't experienced any flooding.

Currently the homes in Harbortowne, like many others without flood insurance, are in an X flood zone category which means it doesn't require flood insurance. That's costing them about $400 to $500.

If a neighborhood that's not currently in a flood zone is put in an AE-13 plan, it could mean $8,000 in flood insurance or maybe more on top of a mortgage.

If you don't have a mortgage on your home, you're not required to have flood insurance. Those numbers are troubling for some homeowners because they may have to move if it goes into effect.

"People's flood insurance, if this neighborhood is put in an AE-13, could be much higher. People will never be able to sell their homes. The only thing you'll be able to do is walk away, because people who bought in here because it wasn't a flood zone," Warren said.

The community got word of the proposal in February, and since then, Horry County leaders supported those against it. The county hired a company to do counter-research to prove the neighborhood doesn't need to be in new flood plan. Now, DNR is testing it to determine whether to go forward with the proposal.

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