The two-foot buffer, known as a freeboard, is a common tool used by municipalities to ensure greater compliance, Cooper said.
"The biggest thing is for public safety," Newell said, noting how first responders are having to put themselves in danger to save people from their homes every storm.
If a home isn't in compliance,
That amount allotted will be in perpetuity until the property owner brings the home into compliance, meaning a property owner who spends the full 50 percent on repairs now without raising the home will not be allowed to spend any more on repairs or improvements in the future.
This could affect those property owners looking to sell, as Cooper said he's been fielding tons of calls from realtors about the status of various homes.
The home value, exclusive of any value the property holds, is based on a formula of
Cooper added that many seeking permits are already in compliance but just need elevation certification to prove it.
White said his family has owned the home since 1954, and this past fall is the first time it has flooded. He'll consider raising the home depending on the condition and cost, but he's prepared to just tear down the whole house and start from scratch if needed.
White's home is one of 378 homes in
Newell noted that the "substantially damaged" figure would be higher if they could list homes not in flood zones. The city has purchased 20 properties as part of the
Some lower-income property owners hoping to stay have gotten assistance rebuilding from an organization called
The organization is reliant on donations, Antes said, and they plan to continue helping people in
Nash's husband of 36 years died unexpectedly months before Hurricane Florence hit the Carolinas coast, and they had dropped their flood insurance a couple years earlier.
"We dropped it just before (Hurricane) Matthew to save some money," she said, adding that water reached just underneath their mobile home in
Once Florence flooding had reached her front steps, her son made her leave, and the water continued to rise several feet into her home, where she's lived about 30 years.
She's bouncing around local motels with her son, whose home across the street from hers was completely destroyed, and grandchildren while the charity group rebuilds and refurbishes her residence.
"I'm a survivor; I've survived worse than," she said, pausing. "Well, actually this is probably the worst experience I've been through, but I'll keep going."
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