Sunday, December 2, 2012

End of the coastal lifestyle?

From the NY Times:

New York and New Jersey residents, just coming to grips with the enormous costs of repairing homes damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, will soon face another financial blow: soaring flood insurance rates and heightened standards for rebuilding that threaten to make seaside living, once and for all, a luxury only the wealthy can afford.

Homeowners in storm-damaged coastal areas who had flood insurance — and many more who did not, but will now be required to — will face premium increases of as much as 20 percent or 25 percent per year beginning in January, under legislation enacted in July to shore up the debt-ridden National Flood Insurance Program. The yearly increases will add hundreds, even thousands, of dollars to homeowners’ annual bills.

The higher premiums, coupled with expensive requirements for homes being rebuilt within newly mapped flood hazard zones, which will take into account the storm’s vast reach, pose a serious threat to middle-class and lower-income enclaves. In Queens, on Staten Island, on Long Island and at the Jersey Shore, many families have clung fast to a modest coastal lifestyle, often passing bungalows or small Victorian homes down through generations, even as development turned other places into playgrounds for the well-to-do.

While many homeowners are beginning to rebuild without any thought to future costs, the changes could propel a demographic shift along the Northeast Coast, even in places spared by the storm, according to federal officials, insurance industry executives and regional development experts. Ronald Schiffman, a former member of the New York City Planning Commission, said that barring intervention by Congress or the states, there would be “a massive displacement of low-income families from their historic communities.”


Missing Foundation said...

Oh no - the 'lifestyle' is not dead.

You need a constituency to push for waterfront development and the folks along S I and Breezy Pt as your front men.

They will get a raw deal on stuff like insurance and FEMA and the like but they can count on the empty words from politicians who will show up to give 'support' - when all they will really accomplish is little more than staged photo ops of care and concern for their self serving newsletters.

But with this smokescreen firmly in place, the gravy train of honest graft can start up again.

A lot of money is tied up on 'underutilized' waterfront property.

And with a dead stock market and uncertain world economy, a lot of international money (of uncertain origin from places like Russia and the Far East) is sitting on the sidelines waiting to go forward.

The really neat thing is how a city that prides itself on being smart can sit passively while a bunch of no-account political bosses wastes another generation's future for their cock-eyed plans for yet another disaster.

Anonymous said...

At least some NYCHA buildings still have water views!

Anonymous said...

No need to gondola through Venice ("Oh solo mio"), with the Grand Canal running down Main Street.

as my Long Beach, L.I. cousin just wrote to me...
"Somewhere in the middle of my living room, the bay met the ocean".

Anonymous said...

Well, your family has at least had a few generations of having that at-risk property while my family for a few generations has been paying the increased insurance premiums for the futile rebuilds after each storm.

Enough is enough. Just - stop - rebuilding - in - flood - areas. It's over. It's done.