In a matter that affects every resident in Horry County, records clearly show that the Horry County Construction Appeals Board broke the Horry County Flood Law.
Tonight, Horry County Council members are rushing to change the flood law to mitigate a lawsuit.
An Horry County flood subcommittee established by Chairman Johnny Gardner recommended a 3ft elevation standard to be applied to all new construction located in Horry County flood zones because it ensured almost all new homes built in Horry would be safe from future flooding by using higher elevation standards. These new standards allow significant flood policy discounts for Horry homeowners.
For the past several months, Great Southern Homes has been trying to circumvent the law by requesting the Construction Board of Appeals to issue a variance to build 40+ homes at a lower elevation than what Horry County’s flood law requires.
Great Southern Homes was not entitled to a variance, and did not meet the criteria, because the project is not a historic or agriculture structure, and does not have functionally dependent use.
Last month, Horry County’s Construction Board of Appeals approved the unlawful request. Horry County Council members then began an effort to amend the county’s flood prevention law from a 3ft freeboard to a 2ft freeboard to avoid a lawsuit against its own Board of Appeals.
Only by changing the law from 3ft to 2ft, can the county avoid such a suit. If the county chooses not to amend its own law, the county would essentially have to sue itself because of the unlawful actions of the Construction Appeals Board.
The council will consider changing the elevation standard without knowing the consequences to Horry’s flood policy holders, or considering the future flood risk for future property owners.
Experts, Larry Larson with Association of State Floodplain Managers, Joel Scata and Anna Webber with Natural Resources Defense Council are familiar with the laws Horry County chose to write, based on research done by Rob Young, a Phd hired by the County to map the supplemental flood zone. None have been asked nor have they provided input as to what happens to tax credits given to homeowners once the law is changed.
THE PROBLEM WITH TRUSTING GOVERNMENT
Government leaders and bureaucrats are concerned about Americans’ low levels of trust in who they are and what they do. As of May 2022, pew research polls show that only 20% of Americans trust their city, county, state and federal governments.
THEY BROKE THE LAW FOR ONE OF THEIR FRIENDS
As Horry County Council sits on the dais voting tonight, changing the law, one thing they can not deny is that their own board of appeals broke the law.
Government has shown it does two things regularly.
- Protects itself (the government)
- Protect its friends in Corporate America (or its own locally colluded friends)
In short: Horry County Construction Appeals Board issued a variance to allow a homebuilder to build at a lower elevation even though they did not meet the criteria for the variance to be granted and tonight the county is considering changing the elevation requirement to avoid a lawsuit.
KEY CONCERN FOR LOCALS
“How important is it for municipalities to follow flood laws and prohibit variances to allow homes to be built at a lower elevation even if they don’t meet the criteria? What are some potential consequences if municipalities do not follow their own flood laws or try to amend flood laws because of unlawful actions by a board? How could that affect flood policy holders?”
Why are our elected officials not holding the board accountable for breaking the law? They appointed this board. The board answers to the council.
Instead of firing the board, they are changing the law.
Does 2 feet make sense?
Horry County Council is now basing our law on the actions of the County’s construction board.
In setting the 3 ft policy, the county rounded down to 3 ft from as high as 3.7 ft when the law was originally written.
Tonight, Horry County Council members may contend that 2 ft. is safe. Is 2 ft safe? For the most part, yes….
However, the measure was originally passed by Horry County Council because 3 ft provides a 0% chance of flooding.
Horry County Council must explain why it is now changing a law to one that no longer fully protects future homeowners.