Horry County council to vote on buyout options for flood victims

Grand Strand

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. — Flood victims in Horry County may see progress towards a buyout agreement after Tuesday evening’s council meeting.

Horry County Council will vote on two resolutions that would allocate funding for buyout plans from the South Carolina Disaster Recovery Office (SCDRO).

One relates to the $13.1 million buyouts of 61 properties in the Rosewood area of Socastee. The other relates to $2.8 million in drainage infrastructure improvements in the Bucksport area.

Years following Hurricane Florence, Horry County flood victims have struggled to receive state and county leaders’ support.

James Tolliver moved into a Socastee home in December of 2020. He was told there was a .1 chance of floods annually.

Tolliver said it didn’t take long to realize the house had been flooded at least three to four times in the last five years.

“Unless the county buys out the whole neighborhood, there’s nothing I can really do. I’m stuck with a $144,000 storage unit that has no drywall and mold,” Tolliver said.

Black mold and crumbling exterior wood were just some of what was uncovered. This is the case for dozens of Socastee flood victims like Tolliver, who say a buyout program is their only hope.

According to Legal Director Eric Fosmire, if the SCDRO and Horry County Council agree on a resolution, funding could start being allocated, and the county and municipalities would then be able to decide what to do with the property.

Fosmire says buyout areas would have to remain a green space covenant, meaning it could only be redeveloped, for instance, into a park, field, or wetland.

The amount of funding each homeowner in the buyout program receives depends on that property’s pre-disaster value before flooding.

“We have a hard cap of $250,000 per property. To maximize that, we have tried to buy properties out at pre-disaster value because that is fair. If you were to buy it out at the post-disaster value, that value is way down after it’s been flooded out one or more times,”

Homeowners had to have occupied the home at the time of that disaster to receive a buyout from the Hurricane Florence program. If they didn’t, recent homeowners and recent flood victims might still be eligible for the mitigation program.

Tolliver says he and dozens of Rosewood homeowners are waiting on the state to get the ball rolling on buyouts.

“I think that it would be a great way out of a terrible situation. I can’t sell the home to another family. I just won’t do that. I wouldn’t wish what’s going on right now to my worst enemy, I could never do that with a clean conscience, and I’m just kind of stuck,” Tolliver said.

Count on News13 for updates.

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