Some homeowners worried about proposed changes to Horry County’s flood prevention ordinance

Published: Oct. 31, 2022 at 8:19 PM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - A county ordinance that protects future homes from flooding could be changing.

This proposed change is causing an uproar among some in the community.

Ordinance 132-2022, as stated in the Horry County Council agenda, states that the Flood Prevention Law currently requires three feet of space between the lowest floor of a house and the flood level.

The change being discussed by the county council would lower the elevation level to two feet instead of three feet.

April O’Leary with Horry County Rising said this law is something she and her organization worked hard to establish, as she too has been impacted by the effects of flooding after Hurricane Florence in 2018.

“The law was literally just enacted in December of 2021, the law hasn’t even been in effect for a year and they’re already considering reducing the amount of flood protection that we’re all afforded,” O’Leary said.

This proposed change also comes after a legal battle between The Horry County Construction Board of Adjustment and Appeals and Great Southern Homes, Inc.

The company is looking to build nearly 50 new single-family homes within the county’s Supplemental Flood Zone near Grissett Lake Drive off Highway 905.

“If you look at where the supplemental flood zone, you’re talking about rural and many cases, disadvantaged communities and all we’re asking for is the same amount of protection that the coastal communities are afforded,” O’Leary explained.

She said this change could potentially affect homeowners’ ability to repair their homes after a flood.

O’Leary added that state flood insurance specialists told county staff that this change could result in homes being in violation of FEMA’s standards. This could potentially lead to the suspension of The National Insurance Policy Program within Horry County.

“The truth is any new homes that are being constructed in Horry, should not and cannot flood,” O’Leary said. “So, that’s what this law does, it affords them a significant amount of protection so if you invest financially in Horry and you buy a home and that home was built after December, it is designed not to flood.”

This ordinance will be discussed at Horry County Council’s meeting on Tuesday night.

Horry County Council members had declined to comment on this matter, as they said, they would need legal advice.

This is a developing story and will be updated as new information is available.