Local News

Princeville leaders request homeowners raise houses to prevent future flooding

Posted March 27, 2017 10:40 p.m. EDT
Updated March 28, 2017 4:17 p.m. EDT

— Princeville homeowners packed a meeting about their future following devastation from Hurricane Matthew on Monday night.

Town leaders decided Monday night to request that homeowners raise their homes to 2 feet above the flood plain as determined by the state.

Homeowners will not be required to raise the elevations of their houses, but the mayor said those who do not elevate their homes to meet the new standard could face higher insurance costs.

Princeville was one of the hardest hit towns when Hurricane Matthew moved through North Carolina in October and caused the Tar River to overflow its banks. Dozens still remain in hotels after being flooded out of their homes.

Many residents at the meeting voiced frustration at the fact that the government is willing to spend money to elevate homes without fixing the problems with the Tar River, which led to flooding in the first place. Residents were unhappy with the ordinance to raise the elevation of homes, saying that the money should instead be used to fix the dike.

Many residents voiced concern that the 2017 hurricane season is rapidly approaching and "not one thing has been done" to prevent a repeat of the devastation that occurred during Hurricane Matthew.

Town leaders said that the flooding issue was caused by the Department of Transportation when they originally built U.S. Highway 64. Town Manager Daniel Gerald said the DOT "destroyed the dike" and never warned residents about what happened.

"These people had their civil rights violated," he said.

Many residents at Monday night's meeting discussed organizing a group to contact politicians at the state and national level.

Town leaders also voted to annex two properties on high ground for the purpose of building emergency housing and to annex 53 contiguous acres for the purpose of relocating emergency housing and the fire station, which lost five trucks during the storm.