View Full Version : Am I over reacting to rebuilding after hurricanes?

Phillip Allen
09-27-2004, 06:33 AM
I wonder why building is allowed on barrier islands, beach fronts and the like knowing that without doubt storms will destroy it and cast the detritus of that destruction in an otherwise clean outdoors. The only answer I come up with is municipal avarice.

09-27-2004, 06:34 AM
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ $$

Phillip Allen
09-27-2004, 06:41 AM
Hard not to be cynical, isn't it? footnote: "The only government that can be controled by its people is a gaunty one"

Billy Bones
09-27-2004, 06:49 AM
I think there is blame enough to go around. It would be helpful to beachfront home buyers if the municipal and insurance maps were drawn in such a way that 100 and 500 year storm impacts didn't occur every 10 years. It's time to revisit some of our definitions.

09-27-2004, 07:02 AM
you mean learn from history?

Steve Paskey
09-27-2004, 07:09 AM
Yup, money's the thing. Plenty of affluent people willing to pay big money for waterfront property, and developers who will put money in whatever pockets are needed to get the job done. Nearby business owners hope some of it will trickle into their cash registers.

Burns me up, but what can you do? If you try to prohibit building on barrier islands, the property owners will hire lawyers and scream that the restrictions are an unconstitutional "taking" of their property.

I would love to some government somewhere take a stand:

Yaw'l want to build on the island? Well, that's your right. See that bridge? We won't maintain it any more. It's yours for the asking. So are the roads. You want public services? Sorry. Buy a generator, collect rainwater, haul in propane, and get yourself a composting toilet. Have fun.

[ 09-27-2004, 08:12 AM: Message edited by: Steve Paskey ]

Billy Bones
09-27-2004, 07:22 AM
Yaw'l want to build on the island? Well, that's your right. See that bridge? We won't maintain it any more. It's yours for the asking. So are the roads. You want public services? Sorry. Buy a generator, collect rainwater, haul in propane, and get yourself a composting toilet. Have fun.That sounds just like home to me! All except the bridge part and the composting toilets. We do have septic systems. A bridge would have to be 1250 miles long or so to get to Miami. And then where would we be...in Miami!

In all seriousness, I recall reading of some municipality doing just what you describe. It was a real character builder for those that stayed.

09-27-2004, 08:56 AM
The new building codes have done wonders to save structures ... in fact, I saw something on cable this weekend about how the new building survived just fine, structurally speaking- the lower levels are designed to accept storm surge, etc.

The only thing that I saw in this story was some shingles blown away, some broken windows (cracked), and other very topical damage ...

Meanwhile, the houses (older houses) on either side, we destroyed for the most part.

Ah, the price to pay for paradise.


Ken Hutchins
09-27-2004, 09:13 AM
I'm for no rebuilding. As much as I dislike Massachusetts, got to admit they did the right thing after a few hurricanes in the 50's, no rebuilding, turn the shore frontage into state and federal parkland. All taxpayers get to use the beaches, not just the rich cottage owners, who are causing everyones insurance to go up.

Alan D. Hyde
09-27-2004, 09:51 AM
Ken, I'm for human liberty, unless there's a compelling reason that it must be abridged.

And I'm also against coercion, unless there's an unavoidable necessity for it.

So long as individuals let their neighbors live in peace, why should not their neighbors return the favor?

You are saying that land that's been in my family since 1630, land that my ancestors have sweat to improve, and have bled and died to defend, should be taken from their heirs by compulsion (eminent domain) and held by the State.

I say, NO. Simply, instead, let shoreline dwellers provide for their own building and re-building, assume their own risks, as they have for centuries. That few acres of woods with big trees, once seen on virtually every New England farm? That was saved, uncut, to rebuild the house or barn, should that need ever arise. Liberty or subsidy? I'll choose liberty every time.


[ 09-27-2004, 06:25 PM: Message edited by: Alan D. Hyde ]

Jim H
09-27-2004, 10:39 AM
Originally posted by Steve Paskey:
Yaw'l want to build on the island? Well, that's your right. See that bridge? We won't maintain it any more. It's yours for the asking. So are the roads. You want public services? Sorry. Buy a generator, collect rainwater, haul in propane, and get yourself a composting toilet. Have fun.Sounds like a good argument for evacuating the entire Carribean, can't have their trash floating into previously clean beaches. You would also want to move people a good distance from any major bay because of the efffects of storm surge. When you think about it, you'd have to evacuate for miles around the Mississippi and other major rivers.

Mark Van
09-27-2004, 10:53 AM
The government subsidises insurance companies to cover damage to houses on barrier islands, so the insurance rates are relatively cheap. If the government would stay out of it, insurance would be very expensive for beach houses, and people wouldn't build big expensive houses there.

Years ago, people who built beach houses knew that once every 10 years or so, they would loose there house, so they didn't make them very big or expensive.

After the big 93 flood on the Upper Misissippi and Missouri rivers, the government wouldn't let people re-build flooded houses, and the government baught a lot of the bottom land to make nature preserves. Most of the bottom land on the upper Mississippi is government owned.

09-27-2004, 11:05 AM
You are correct, Mark.

However, now they are building multi-million dollar shopping areas, half-million dollar homes, etc. in the valley on the way to my home ... :rolleyes:

Areas that were once just farmfields/floodplanes ...

Why? Well, they raised the levy a few feet after 1993 ... and 1995 ... now, everyone is safe! ;)

Although, where they are building was approxiamately seven feet under the Missouri/Mississippi a few years back ...

Bruce Hooke
09-27-2004, 11:43 AM
Originally posted by Alan D. Hyde:
... assume their own risks, as they have for centuries...This, to me, is the key phrase. It's my understanding, as Mark said, that, in fact, some of the burden of insuring these buildings is spread across all the taxpayers of this country. Am I not right in saying that without Federal Flood Insurance and in various other programs that provide insurance of last resort for high risk properties, many of these houses and businses would be uninsurable? If the government simply withdrew the availablity of such insurance it would raise a huge rukus and get called a "taking". It seems like we've gotten to a point where the government has two choices in such situations: keep subsidizing the insurance for such properties or buy the properties.

Of course the flip side of this coin is should someone who has owned a house in a high-risk area for, say 50 years, be suddenly told that their house is basically worthless because it is uninsurable, so no bank will underwrite a loan for someone else to buy it, so there is almost nobody with both the ability and the risk-tolerance to buy if for cash?

Jim H
09-27-2004, 12:22 PM
Better start saving up to buy Manhatten... ;)

NYC Hurricane History (http://www.nyc.gov/html/oem/html/readynewyork/hazard_hurricane_history.html)

A 10 ft storm surge alone would cause billions in damage.

In the 1980s and 1990s, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers found that New York City’s low-lying, heavily populated neighborhoods are more exposed to the threat of coastal flooding in a hurricane than most people realized.

Large areas of southern Queens, southern Brooklyn, the lower east and west sides of Manhattan, and the perimeter of Staten Island could all suffer damage from a hurricane’s storm surge. In addition, storm surge from a strong hurricane would not be limited to waterfront properties and could conceivably push miles inland in some areas. New York City’s unique geography — located at a “bend” in the coastline between New Jersey and Long Island — makes it especially vulnerable.

Even a low-level hurricane that makes landfall near New York City could wash ocean waters over large sections of some coastal neighborhoods.

New York City Areas at Risk

Communities most at risk of coastal flooding include:

Bronx: Edgewater Park, Silver Beach, Locust Point, Classon Point and Throggs Neck

Brooklyn: Coney Island, Brighton Beach, Manhattan Beach and Sheepshead Bay


Lower Manhattan — Battery Park City and South Street Seaport area
Lower West Side — Battery Park to Midtown
East Side — Entire FDR Drive
Lower East Side — East of Avenue C, East 14th Street to Houston Street
Queens: Rockaway Peninsula, Broad Channel, Howard Beach and West Hamilton Beach

Staten Island: New Dorp Beach, Oakwood Beach, Foxwood Beach, Great Kills and Tottenville

I think what we should be doing is building smarter and we should place restrictions on building close to the beach. The State of Texas has been condemning houses on the West side of Galveston Island and across the inlet at San Luis Pass as the Gulf has eroded the beach that they used to sit behind. When the houses are finally in the surf zone they are condemned by the state.