MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – The Myrtle Beach Planning Commission began using a system to better prepare for hurricanes and flooding. It’s called Digital Coast, and the planning commission worked with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to create it.
According to Allison Harden with the Myrtle Beach Planning Commission, one of the benefits is that all hurricane data is now stored in one place, making it easier to predict what areas of the city will flood in the future.
The planning commission has already used the system to identify a vulnerable flood location where about 540 single-family homes are supposed to be built. The Arbor Glen project is off Highway 17 Bypass, just before Farrow Parkway. Before houses can be built on this land, the contractors have to raise it to avoid heavy flooding.
Harden said the modifications to this project don’t only affect the people who will be moving to this neighborhood. If the land and houses aren’t constructed and positioned correctly, this could cause a domino effect of excessive flooding for people living in the Market Common area as well.
“Planning comes from a public safety aspect. We look for public safety issues,” said Harden.
Harden said that public safety aspect goes beyond flooding. “We look for areas of public health, like having enough open space, having enough green space around the home to provide a really good aesthetic in the neighborhood.”
One realtor who is familiar with Digital Coast said this tool is beneficial because when people are moving, they often ask about flooding.
“It’s one of the most important questions we receive. ‘Is this property in a flood zone and how bad will it flood if a hurricane comes along?'” said Steve Alston with King One Properties.
“It’s something that we can use and something we can give back to the consumer.”
Harden said before anyone is able to get a permit for building or developing in Myrtle Beach, the planning commission will take a look at the land and use the hurricane data to make sure that area and the surrounding areas are not negatively affected by the development.