FEMA releases proposed flood zone changes in Berkeley County

FEMA releases proposed flood zone changes in Berkeley County

FEMA released new proposed flood maps for Berkeley County as part of a federal government study on the hazards in South Carolina.

FEMA and SCDNR officials held an informational meeting Wednesday night for people owning homes or property in Berkeley County to learn how the new maps will impact them.

For some homeowners already in a flood zone, the new maps mean they could be removed. That means flood insurance will not be required.

For some homeowners not in a flood zone currently, they could be added to one. That would mean they would be forced to purchase flood insurance.

For others, things could stay the same.

“That is one of the things that we didn't understand, was that some people on our road did require it (flood insurance),” said Eston Turner, a Berkeley County resident. “Some didn't require it. We happened to have one the properties that did. Now, I am absolutely happy that we don't have to deal with that any longer.”

DNR officials said the proposed maps will likely be met without controversy.

“There's more parcels coming out of the special flood hazard area then are going in, so we have a net change on the positive side, if you want to look at it that way for most citizens,” said Maria Lamm with DNR.

Lamm said Berkeley County has not released the number of structures affected, so the true impact might not immediately be known.

Lamm also said it’s important for people to understand these maps were not drawn in response to October’s historic flood.

“This is based on a one percent chance in any given year that an area will flood, so it's more of a statistical probability, not based on any one event,” she said.

A FEMA insurance representative at the meeting was not able to give any estimates on how much insurance rates could increase for those not meeting the proposed flood elevations or those added into flood zones.

Still, it was on to celebrating for those who found out their properties would no longer be located in a flood zone.

"I'm going to go home and tell the wife, make her happy, and hopefully she'll take me to dinner,” said Turner.

A few people at the meeting said they were upset Berkeley County did not advertise the session. Some even said no one in their neighborhoods heard about the meeting until late Tuesday night.

County officials said about 40 people attended Wednesday’s session.

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