City official says Fayetteville neighborhood that regularly floods was left off map several years ago

Cumberland County News

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – Like many of his neighbors in the Locks Creek subdivision in Fayetteville, Chauncey Payne’s house flooded during Hurricane Matthew.

Payne said he didn’t have flood insurance when the hurricane saw 4.5 feet of water go through his home.

“When Matthew came, I had three years left to pay that house off,” he said.

Payne, who is retired from the military and post office, said he didn’t qualify for programs to help flood victims. He had to refinance his house to pay for the cleanup.

Chauncey and his neighbors worry nearly every time it rains because the neighborhood easily floods.

“When it gets cloudy, everybody panics,” he said.

CBS 17 took these concerns to Fayetteville’s Public Services Director Sheils Thomas-Ambat. She said the Federal Emergency Management Agency should have identified the Locks Creek area as a flood zone during its last mapping process several years ago, but it didn’t.

“From my understanding, there was a Locks Creek that was identified, but it wasn’t this area of Locks Creek. It was another area of Locks Creek that got mapped,” Thomas-Ambat said. “This area is still not identified even in the new mapping cycle. That is what we are working with the state to fix.”

Chauncey thinks the city needs to step up and help them figure out a solution before another major flood hits.

“We live in Fayetteville. This is the city,” Payne said. “If FEMA dropped the ball, then who should have picked it up?”

Designating the area as a flood zone will help protect future development from flooding.

As for the current homes, the city is surveying the area to figure out what can be done. They say the process will take up to a year.

“We are doing what we can do, which is modeling and looking for a possible design construction alternative option for this neighborhood, as well as other neighborhoods in Fayetteville,” Thomas-Ambat said.

One of the possible solutions could include a buyout option for some homeowners.

“I want to leave, but I can’t, so I’m really trapped,” Payne said. “They’re not going to give me the amount I need to move to another spot, so I’ll still be in trouble.”

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