The county is low-lying and contains a large swath of tidal and non-tidal wetlands in the south, with rivers and topography in the north that also results in flooding. DES routinely monitors areas known to flood and communicates through social media when the National Weather Service has issued any type of advisories. Dorchester County Government adopted the 2017 Flood Mitigation Plan to provide a framework to address flooding hazards in the County.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) encourages most citizens to obtain flood insurance. Did you know that your home owner’s insurance won’t cover damages caused by water from outside of your home? Frequently asked questions about flood insurance, including who is eligible and how to obtain it, can be found on the FEMA National Flood Insurance Program website.
As a homeowner, you need clear information about the options available to you and straightforward guidance that will help you make decisions on how best to mitigate flood damage to your property. FEMA has developed the Homeowner’s Guide to Retrofitting for ideas on options that may be open to you. This guide gives you both, in a form designed for readers who have little or no experience with flood protection methods or building construction techniques.
Home Elevation Project Information
Elevating your home can be a daunting process. The Dorchester Emergency Management Division is well versed in Federal, State, and Local requirements and can provide assistance on navigating the process. FEMA has developed a specific chapter on Home Elevation within the Homeowner’s Guide to Retrofitting which includes on important considerations for home elevation which each resident interested in elevating their home should read.
If you should decide to pursue federal assistance to elevate your home, there are several important pieces of information each homeowner should know:
- An elevation project packet is required to be completed by the homeowner, which includes detailed information on the structure. It is the responsibility of the homeowner to have an engineer look at the structure to ensure it is structurally sound for the elevation project and provide a signed statement for the application packet.
- The Department of Planning and Zoning can give a list of contractors that have successfully completed elevation projects in the county in the past.
- There is no guarantee that funding will be available at the time of the project
- The application process from start to approval can take up to a year
- The elevation grant is a 75% federal/25% property owner split, and a signed letter from the property owner agreeing to this must be part of the application packet.
- The County Department of Emergency Services/Emergency Management Development is the point of contact for the funding once the project is approved, and will submit bills for reimbursement on the owner’s behalf to the state.
- MEMA has developed applicant guidelines for housing elevation project proposals, which can be found on their website.