Polo Farms

Sections of the Polo Farms subdivision on S.C. 905 flooded over the weekend.

Horry County’s new flood maps likely won’t be approved until next summer at the earliest, but county officials do not plan to challenge their design.

County officials said the new maps resemble the flood levels the county saw during Hurricane Florence last year, although that storm’s data was not used in the calculation of the proposed high-risk zones (Click here to see the new flood maps).

“The new models mimic what we saw in Florence,” Horry County Administrator Steve Gosnell said. “Based on that … we’re not in a position that we would want to appeal.”

Federal officials plan to advertise the new maps in 30-60 days. There’s then a 90-day appeal period. Any appeals could delay the process, but if no appeals are filed, a final letter of determination for the maps would be released, probably in April or May. Then county council has six months to adopt the maps. County officials said the process could last until November 2020.

If the council doesn’t approve the maps, the county could be removed from the National Flood Insurance Program. However, council approval doesn’t appear to be a concern.

“If we’re satisfied with it, it should be a pretty easy deal,” county councilman Johnny Vaught said.

During the council’s infrastructure and regulation committee meeting Tuesday, some leaders stressed that council members should avoid rezoning property for development in high risk flood zones.

“We shouldn’t even look at it,” councilman Bill Howard.

David Schwerd, the county’s director of planning and zoning, said the county provides both the current and proposed flood maps to applicants seeking a rezoning. 

“We include a specific flood zone map showing the proposed development and how it is or is not within bounds,” he said. “We have, for the last year as we have gone through the proposed flood maps, provided that information and requested that all the new developments pull their lots outside of the flood zone if they are increasing density.”

Contact Charles D. Perry at 843-488-7236

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I'm the editor of myhorrynews.com and the Carolina Forest Chronicle, a weekly newspaper in Horry County, South Carolina. I cover county government, the justice system and agriculture. Know of a story that needs to be covered? Call me at 843-488-7236.

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