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‘First major upgrade’: Horry County leaders move forward with sweeping changes to prevent flooding

Updated: Jun. 15, 2021 at 9:36 PM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – Major changes to Horry County’s flood prevention standards are just one vote away from becoming reality.

Horry County Council unanimously passed the second reading that would make changes to the county’s flood damage prevention ordinance.

The amendments to the ordinance include changing the freeboard heigh requirements for new homes inside flood zones. Currently, homes are only required one-foot elevation, but if a third reading is passed then new homes would require a three-foot elevation.

RELATED COVERAGE | Horry County Council pushes ahead with flooding ordinance changes

It also states that new critical facilities will not be allowed to be developed within the 100-year floodplain or the 500-year floodplain.

The ordinance also calls that homes in Coastal A Zones will be held to a higher standard and need to meet the same requirements as coastal high hazard area requirements.

April O’Leary with Horry County Rising has been pushing for changes like these to help protect homeowners. She thanked councilmembers for listening to their concerns and making these major sweeping changes.

“We have been very overwhelmed by all of your support for this new flood prevention ordinance,” O’Leary said. “It is going to provide some of the best flood protection measures in the state of South Carolina. It’s the first major upgrade to our flood prevention ordinances since 1987, that’s over 30 years.”

Officials said the revised ordinance will also be beneficial to the Community Rating System (CRS) from FEMA. In CRS communities, flood insurance premium rates are discounted if they are able to address the three goals of the program:

  • Reduce and avoid flood damage to insurable property
  • Strengthen and support the insurance aspects of the National Flood Insurance Program
  • Foster comprehensive floodplain management

The amendments to the ordinance will go through a third reading before they become final.

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