Charleston may require elevated foundations of new single-family homes above ground

A new proposal in Charleston could change how new homes are built within the city, as officials say they want to elevate homes to make them more resilient.
Published: Nov. 29, 2022 at 5:52 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 29, 2022 at 8:57 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A new proposal from the city of Charleston could change the way new homes are built within the city, as officials say they want to elevate homes to make them more resilient.

City leaders are drafting an ordinance requiring the foundations of some new single-family homes to be elevated above the 100-year floodplain, which officials said is half of the total parcels in the city.

The proposed regulation would mandate new homes to be built above crawlspaces or on stilts to reduce dirt fill in these areas.

If passed, no new home would be allowed to have its foundation laid in the dirt. The ordinance would not affect homes that are already built prior to it taking effect.

The proposal would only apply to older homes if the foundation must be torn up and replaced, not if it needs to be repaired.

Officials said the elevation would help protect against water entering people’s homes during a major storm if the infrastructure doesn’t hold up.

The city said they have been working with area developers and conservation groups for about a year on regulation that makes sense for all involved.

“We’re trying to make sure what’s being built is being built responsibly,” Stormwater Management Director Matthew Fountain said. “We’re not trying to make determinations on what should or not be built. That’s a planning and zoning function. We’re trying to make sure if you’re building on a lot, you’re doing it in a way that doesn’t flood other people, and it doesn’t flood the people whose homes are being built.”

The draft ordinance is expected to be brought to Charleston City Council for discussion and a potential vote next year.