With the start of the new year, The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette today will preview some of the biggest local issues expected to impact the lives of residents, workers, business owners and tourists in Beaufort County and surrounding areas. Following is one of 17 issues to watch in 2017:
In 2005, the S.C. Department of Natural Resources began remapping Beaufort County’s flood zones, a project intended to span five years.
Eleven years have passed, but there are still no new maps. Representatives from the state agency now say Beaufort County’s maps will be released this spring.
Beaufort and Jasper counties, which currently rely on maps dating back to the mid-1980s or early 1990s, will be the last in the state to receive an update. Meanwhile, an analysis by The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette of federal flood-insurance premiums found that new maps have led to savings in some S.C. counties.
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The new maps will bring issues worth watching: How have rising sea levels and booming development impacted the county’s flood zones? Which properties will move into and out of newly designated flood zones? And with the expected phaseout of federal flood-insurance subsidies, how will coastal real estate be affected?