Socastee residents in limbo await updates on flood buyback program

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Enrollments for the long-awaited Socastee flood buyback program have been closed, but some homeowners have said they still have doubts whether they will complete it and leave their homes.

One of them is Rosewood’s longtime neighbor Joe Reid. He said he applied for the buyback program after receiving a letter from Horry County in the mail claiming he was eligible.

“Right now, I’m just waiting in limbo with what they have to offer and what they have to say,” Reid said.

He has lived in his house since 2001 and still has watermarks from Hurricanes Matthew and Florence outside his house. It flooded again in the spring of 2021, during the last flood.

Reid said he’s worried he won’t know exactly what will happen next during the process and how long he will have to wait to find out how much he will get from his house. Horry County said it expects the process to take six to 12 months.

He said just because he applied doesn’t mean he’s ready to go.

“It’s not that I’m sick of living here, I just want to see what they say. If it’s enough to really buy me. Yes. And then maybe go somewhere else, off the coast, probably, ”he added.

Other homeowners have said they want the county to simply raise their homes rather than just offering a buyout.

The county announced this spring that it had received $ 15.6 million in federal grants for flood mitigation projects. Of these grants, $ 13 million was to be spent on the Socastee flood relief program. Horry County originally said it had enough money to cover 60 homes. After extending the deadline for more requests, the county said it received a total of 48 requests from homeowners.

The buyback request cites seven major floods in the targeted area since 2015 and asks homeowners to list the damage each flood has caused to their home. Some neighbors in Rosewood and Star Creek Circle have said they are concerned about how the county viewed their homes’ value before the storm, and not the current value, which is likely higher.

A Horry County spokesperson said appraisals are done on a case-by-case basis and the maximum a home can get is $ 250,000. The county added that it uses a different formula for properties purchased after Hurricane Florence to assess the value of the home.

Still, the county said it’s not up to them, and the way homes are rated is based on federal requirements with grants. The county also said the cabinet that helps them appraise homes is expected to start the appraisal process in a few weeks.

Although many homeowners are trying to move, many still call Socastee home. Jake Beagle said he closed his house this week.

“I didn’t hesitate to buy it too much, since it is eight feet raised, I know this area is known to be flooded, but it is eight feet off the ground. There has been only one FEMA claim in the past 10 years, ”Beagle said.

For Reid and many others, even as they make the buyout, they don’t know where they could afford to move.

“Everything is so expensive these days. Where are you going? This is what I talked about with a few neighbors of mine. Where will we go after we get out of here, you know? Where are you going ?”

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