Horry County releases draft of flood resiliency master plan; asks for feedback

Published: Oct. 4, 2021 at 7:46 PM EDT
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CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - For years individual flood-related resolutions and policies have made their way in front of Horry County Council.

Now, the Flood Resilience Master Plan is drafted and it could change how the county addresses flooding for years to come.

MORE INFORMATION | Draft of Flood Resilience Master Plan

The 103-page document details the how and why of flooding in Horry County but also lists some possible solutions.

The plan outlines existing policies like implementing supplemental flood zones and raising freeboard requirements. Other parts of the plan call for analyzing critical infrastructure needs and presenting new ideas like the return of natural bays to help with water flow and drainage.

Flood advocate with Horry County Rising, April O’Leary, said after years of demanding county leaders for a plan, she is glad to see it released.

“I think it’s a good first step,” O’Leary said.

While it presents many ideas to deal with flooding, O’Leary said she wishes parts of the plan were more specific, rather than an overall view of what needs to be done to remain resilient to flooding.

“We were really looking for a list of projects, what those projects are going to save, how much it’s going to cost, who’s responsible and the timeline,” O’Leary added.

Still, she said it’s a start and is pleased with how comprehensive the plan is.

“It’s not just one specific law or addressing one specific issue, and it’s sort of two-fold right, it addresses new development, and how to make sure new development doesn’t flood and suffer the same adverse impacts as existing communities,” she added.

Now, O’Leary said what’s needed is making sure the community is on board. She’s asking those who live in flood-prone areas, as well as every member of Horry County Council, to fill out a survey to gauge their reactions to the plan. She said it’s key the plan includes ideas that community members would like to see implemented.

Francis Bedard, who lives in Aberdeen, and was flooded during Hurricane Florence, said he’s on board.

“Nine to 10 inches of water, we had to throw all our furniture away,” Bedard said, recalling the damage his house in Longs saw after the storm. “I didn’t have flood insurance at the time, I was told by a resource by resources that I didn’t need it because we had never flooded before.”

He said he’s apprehensive the plan might not help him out as much and would be geared towards homeowners moving in, and building in the future.

“Whoever it helps out, it’s a big deal, I wouldn’t want to see anyone go through what we had to go through.”

Horry County Council’s subcommittee on flooding will meet on Friday and will discuss the plan then.

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