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Delayed Flood Maps Slow Development

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WILSON, N.C. — New flood maps are seven months late, and it is slowing down development east of the Triangle.

Wilson and Rocky Mount have expected the new maps since Hurricane Floyd. Three years later, recent floods have hit residents and business owners again.

Percel Leveston's house in Wilson was flooded Monday, but he is waiting for new maps before he moves. Levenston wants to go where he will never be flooded again.

"It would probably be better on higher ground, as long as we don't get a tornado. We'd probably be better off," said Levenston.

State workers hoped to finish mapping by January, but the technical process took longer than expected. Maps should be done in November, said state officials.

"People are more sensitive toward the flood, even houses that are not really in a flood zone. If they go into an area and it seems low, they don't want to buy it," said Lafan Forbes, owner of

Forbes Reality, Inc.

in Wilson.

Developers in Wilson County are ready for the maps, according to Forbes.

"One of their main concerns is to make sure it's on higher ground and that it's not in a flood zone," said Forbes.

The Tarrytown Mall in Rocky Mount has been empty since it was flooded during Hurricane Floyd.

"Months ago a major retailer announced plans to tear down this old building, bring in some dirt and build new here. It appears that plan is on hold. The city of Rocky Mount says the retailer has mentioned that the lack of flood maps is at least part of the problem," explained Forbes.

According to state officials, the new maps will be more accurate than the old.