Autaugaville Homeowners Fear More than Flooding


By Morgan Hightower

For Jim and Lisa White, building their custom home alongside swift creek in Autaugaville, was a “dream come true. We built it from the ground up. I was here every day on the job and it was just a major accomplishment for us.”

But beyond their picturesque views lies a nightmarish reality.

“We've spent more than half our life savings on this house but we stand to lose it because of someone else's error,” explains Jim White, homeowner.

They say a colossal error was made when the land was first developed.

Being in a floodplain, all the homes in the area had to be built at a certain elevation.

Based on the benchmark developed by engineers Larry Speaks and Associates, the White's house was built 10 feet above the ground.

“We never would have imagined that we'd be 5 feet below the 100-year flood,” said White.

Two years after the Whites moved in, officials with Autauga County said the home doesn't meet floodplain ordinance standards.

Because of requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program, the county is requiring the Whites and four other families in their neighborhood to raise their homes to meet the standards.

“Those estimates have been in the range of $220,000.”

A price that if not paid could result in the White's losing more than their insurance policy.

“It's a requirement for our home to have flood insurance through our mortgage company and if we can't maintain flood insurance on this home, they have the right to foreclose on us,” said White.

To help, the Whites and four other families have hired an attorney.

But three years of litigation later, they’re still in the same place.

“We've had some great memories down here and we love it, we really do. But we’ve been carrying this around and we are ready to put this down,” said White.

The Autauga County Commission will soon determine how long to homeowners have to fix the problem.

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