Marion County families await inspections before building new homes

Nichols, SC - FEMA Photo

MARION, SC (WBTW) – Months after Hurricane Matthew, many people in the Pee Dee are preparing to move into new homes after losing everything in the storm.  But some families are being told they have to wait  before moving into homes damaged by the Hurricane.

The Larrimores say it has been difficult to get into the holiday spirit without a home of their own. The family has been staying with their grandmother since Matthew’s floods forced them from their home.

 

 

“The sherrif came and told us to get what we could out and leave,” recalled Angela Larrimore. “I wanna come back home.”

Only she can’t, at least not yet.

Larrimore said Marion County officials recently told her that she must have her new home–that she had hoped to place right on the spot of the old one one–inspected, and get an Elevation Certificate to show it is safe from the future floods.

“If you want to build a house and you’re inside of a flood zone, we have to make sure you’re above what’s called the base flood elevation as determined by FEMA,” explained Marion County GIS Coordinator Jeffery Graham.

Larrimore’s house was not originally inside a flood zone, but Graham said when a new house goes up, inspectors must make sure it meets existing flood zone requirements.

Graham said Marion County has several different flood zones. The zone where the Larrimore home lies is in a zone that has not yet been studied. That means each new home builder must hire a surveyor who will study the property and report back to FEMA.

 

Larrimore said after the last year she’s had, she can’t possibly afford the several hundred-dollar fee for an inspector.

We pretty much lost everything that we had,” she noted.

Larrimore said she also feels the city isn’t being clear with its requests, and that it is keeping her family from their home.

“I would like for the county to be up-front and straightforward with people,” she lamented.

Graham said the county is currently looking at options to help defray the cost of inspectors, or reimburse those who are paying now.