FEMA Expands Flood Zones, Greenville Residents Caught Off Guard

One neighborhood is upset after learning their homes have been added to a flood zone. They say flooding isn't an issue.

Greenville's flood zones have been in place for decades. On July 7, the Federal Emergency Management Agency updated the maps and now homeowners say they're caught off guard.

The Fork Swamp flood zone is made up of streets behind the Hilton on Greenville Boulevard. It extends through Baywood to Bent Creek Drive.

Residents like Rosy Donnenwirth and her family have lived on Baywood Lane for eight years. Donnenwirth says she's never had a problem with flooding, even though there is a drainage pipe that runs under the train tracks behind her home.

Kevin Mulligan, Greenville's Director of Public Works, says FEMA has been working to extend the Fork Swap flood zone since 2006. He says crews have been revisiting areas missed since their last evaluation of the city.

"The elevation didn't change, the house location didn't change, the limits of the study changed," explains Mulligan. "FEMA stopped at a previous area and now they circled back and expanded that area that they looked into."

Mulligan says FEMA has never said a pipe, ditch or stream within the city was undersized. Rather, since Hurricane Katrina, FEMA looked to expand their flood plane maps.

There were several public meetings back in 2011 for residents to voice their opposition to the study and even a 90-day appeal period. We're told there were no appeals or comments submitted.

If you live within a flood zone and have a mortgage, Mulligan says you're required to have flood insurance. He says the city has negotiated a 15% discount for residents.