Sunday, December 9, 2012
Bloomberg's Rx for next hurricane: lift building height requirements
From the Huffington Post:
Before Sandy, the city had already made and touted its efforts to prepare for global warming and storms. Measures have included requiring some new developments in flood zones to be elevated, restoring wetlands as natural barriers and examining other coast-protection strategies, which the city says it now will study in more depth.
But Sandy's storm surge, a modern record, flooded beyond the area officials had expected – emergency managers had figured there was only a 1 percent chance of the 14-foot stack of water Sandy sent into the Battery in lower Manhattan, Bloomberg said. The experience made it clear that utilities, hospitals and transit systems need to be better prepared.
Toward that end, Bloomberg said he has instructed economic development and planning officials to assess what it will take to make power grids, transportation networks, telecommunications systems and hospitals able to handle a Category 2 hurricane, record-breaking heat wave or other natural disaster.
Bloomberg says officials also will take another look at evacuation zones – the most vulnerable area, called Zone A, already was expanded after Tropical Storm Irene last year. He also wants to revisit building and zoning codes, particularly height restrictions that could discourage people from elevating their homes.
How about making elevation of homes mandatory instead of throwing another bone to developers?