Proposed flood prevention plan could appear on November’s ballot as referendum question

Proposed flood prevention plan could appear on November’s ballot as referendum question

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - City of Charleston voters could see a question on this November’s ballot about a proposed ordinance some say would increase flood protection and lower flood insurance rates.

However, not all local leaders are on board with the proposed plan and want to see it changed.

The question, if approved, would ask if you support the city of Charleston in increasing the freeboard requirement from one to two feet. This is how high your home would have to be raised above the federal flood baseline, if your house sustains damage that equals or exceeds fifty percent of the structure’s market value.

Councilman Keith Waring wants to take the issue straight to voters later this year to raise awareness about what it could mean for their wallets in the face of disaster.

“It’s a huge financial mandate that’s being unfunded by the city that’s being required to every taxpayer in the city of Charleston,” Waring said. “They really don’t know anything about it. And it’s too important to rush through.”

While the proposed plan explicitly covers new construction, it also impacts existing homeowners.

Historic homes have been exempted from the cost.

“We’re assigning an expense to the homeowner and to the business person they don’t even know about,” Waring argued.

Waring believes the burden the proposed ordinance puts on existing homeowners, who may not even know this type of regulation exists, is not worth the benefits.

“Let’s get the people in the neighborhoods to say wait a minute. This is my home. This is where I raise my family. This is where I rest my head at night…now what is it you want me to do and how much is that going to cost,” Waring said. “I’m not willing to put literally thousands of people’s homes and businesses at risk for 3 to 5 percent discount on flood insurance.”

The resolution to take the issue to voters as a referendum question goes before Charleston city council next week.

Copyright 2019 WCSC. All rights reserved.