Folly Beach looks at new building rules as high tides reveal flooding dangers

FOLLY BEACH — Cristen Hampton used to have a fire pit in her backyard. Now she has a wall. Hampton was sick of the island’s back marsh, just about 15 feet from her home here, backing up into her property during high tides and serious storms. During a few events, she had a foot and a half of water in her basement.

“I had a black snake swim in from the marsh” during Irma last year, Hampton said.

Now, when the marsh floods, the house is protected by a wall on the small back porch, erected from the cinderblocks that once made up the Hamptons’ fire pit.

Hampton is one of many islanders who has lived firsthand a circumstance that might surprise inland residents. While beachfront homes are vulnerable, marshfront land often floods first.

Folly Beach is currently considering a plan to keep construction and development away from the marshes on its back side, a relatively new approach to protecting an important coastal resource.

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