Galveston residents may not be able to rebuild..Fair or foul?

qdognjSeptember 19, 2008

Its been reported that residents who had "beachfront" property may not be able to rebuild under Texas law..While i feel for those people who lost everything, i completely support laws restricting rebuilding in areas that are high risk areas...Thoughts? Opinions?

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My understanding is that the people that will not be allowed to rebuild are those whose property now sits upon state lands. The strip of land between the average high tide and lowest tide is considered public property. Since so much of the beach eroded, the low tide/high tide land boundaries have basically been redrawn. Those that built on that stretch of beach knew ahead of time and it was reflected in their deed and the title policy they purchased.

It's unfortunate, but it was known at the time the people built those homes and it was a risk they took on at that time.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 12:16PM
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Would that include the rich farmland flood plains of the Mississippi River from its head waters to the Gulf? How about the hills above Malibu...pretty much annual wild fire risks, ya know? How about Oklahoma City or Lincoln, Nebraska...I heard from a reliable source that they can get tornados in those cities? What about San Francisco...earthquakes? Or, how about Seattle...volcanos?

Or, is it just ocean front where you would prohibit people from living?


    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 12:18PM
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tricia, you can't voice an opinion, as you are waterfront!!! lol..

anyway,I have a problem in areas repeatedly struck by waterfront issues,hurricanes,beach erosion,tidal floods...You can't compare those issues which happen with regularity to wildfires or earthquakes..

And while i'm on my high horse ;), i am tired of the government replenishing shorelines(NJ in particular) with sand after just about every winter...Many beaches are unacessible by the general public, and for taxpayers dollars going to this, it is a crime...FWIW,the issue of inaccessibilty does NOT affect me, as my friends all have the "private" beach homes,that should be public accessible..So i don't have an axe to grind here,lol..

    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 1:12PM
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There are certain places people should not build houses...

the sides of active volcanoes, across active fault line, at or below sea level - are a few that come to mind.

The potential for problems there are higher than the possibility of wildfires, or the possibility of tornadoes, etc. Those places are 'definites', not 'possibilities'.

That said - if you CHOOSE to live in a problem area, you should 100% assume all risks.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 1:43PM
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While I support the condemnation of houses on public land, the part that I don't like is that these former property owners get NOTHING in return for losing their property to the state. That just doesn't sit right with me. I think it should sort of be like the emminent domain laws where the state is required to compensate owners at market prices, and that market price being one before the property was considered "distressed", of course.

There is a spot on Galveston where homeowners that previously had not one but two rows of houses between them and the ocean are now almost within the high tide line. Texas law requires that the state monitor the situation through 12 months to get 4 seasons (such as they are in Texas) to get a firm grim on exactly what constitutes the mean high tide line, and even some of these homes that were previously the third one back could be condemned. The people in the first and second row are definitely condemned.

I suspect that flood insurance and homeowners insurance companies won't pay claims on property that is at risk of being condemned within the next 12 months. So these people are definitely screwed.

However, all of this, by law, was disclosed to them when they bought those properties. Whether they understood what they were being told is still an open question.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 2:07PM
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I have compassion for many all over the US (& Canada) who lost their homes to a "natural disaster" Many times we disturb the natural flow of rivers, allow people to build big houses, or extensive homes and tax the land. We also allow people to build again and again in areas that with a little understanding and restrictions homes could be built and saved --such as brush clearance--unstable clift--unstable ground--etc
Know your flood plain, and do not allow overbuilding.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 2:14PM
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The land that is between the mean low tide and mean high tide is basically under water half the time at the center, and under water most the time on the low side part and under water not as often on the high tide part(but often wet). This is basically the area of water just where the waves hit the shore and several feet in that vicinity both seaward and landward.

What has occurred here, is mother nature took the houses and all the land under the houses(eroded the land away). What used to be a dry lot very close to the beach had turned into shoreline water or wet shore line just at the water line. You just can't build a house there any more. The land is no longer buildable, because the sea swallowed up some of the land. This is natural, for shorelines to move due to storms. Building too close to the shore is a risky solution, given that your lot could be gone. This usually doesn't apply to bay front or lake front property (though possible), but this mass erosion of land is more common on ocean front and on the Gulf of Mexico.

I heard that the folks that owned those beachfront properties had signed deeds knowing that if there was erosion that caused their lot to erode into the Gulf, then the lot would no longer be buildable/legal due to the lot mostly not being "water front" any more, and being "in the water" instead.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 2:36PM
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I would actually say a big YES to limiting development/rebuilding in all of the disaster-prone areas that Tricia cites. (And I grew up near Galveston and now live in San Francisco, so I'm not unfamiliar with these areas....) That's not to say no waterfront homes or no homes near active fault lines, but we can require that these homes be built in safe ways where it is appropriate. (In the SF Bay Area, for example, cities have very strict building codes for reinforcing foundations to protect against earthquakes, and you can't build on a fault line. Check out the soon-to-be-complete new San Francisco/Oakland Bay Bridge, which is a particular feat of engineering designed to twist in an earthquake to prevent the damage that comes from a rigid structure snapping when the earth moves.) Similarly, homes in flood-prone areas can have pilings dropped into solid ground (where this exists) so that the structure sits up above the water, and you can mandate people to use building methods that are stronger than typical wood frame construction. Is it more expensive to build for earthquakes or hurricanes? Sure. But in the long run, you save by still having your home when disaster strikes. Not to mention that better building limits and codes might help with the chaos of the flood insurance industry, especially right now with so many levies being decertified across the country.

There will also always be some areas that simply should not be built on, ever, no matter what the construction. Some of the LA slopes come to mind---clearing them to build not only puts the home at risk, but the act of building itself increases the risk that there will be a mudslide by removing the trees that were controlling slope erosion, which is different from hurricane or earthquake country, where building the home does not by itself increase the probability of disaster. Similarly, there are floodplains that need to be allowed to flood regularly from an ecosystem perspective, and thus should not be developed (and no, this is not about protecting critters--though it has that added benefit--but about allowing rivers and creeks to run through their natural flooding cycles and thus not have other negative impacts on homes and farms). As a nation we have a long history of trying to contain Mother Nature through dams or levies or channelizing rivers, and then getting upset when waters break through and destroy what we've created. A better plan is to allow for this when we build, and choose sites and designs that will not drop us into harm's way.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 5:30PM
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Is Hawaii the only state where ALL beaches are public?

I can't find it now, but recently saw a skit on The Onion where a California couple are interviewed *bragging* about how fast their hillside home went up in flames. They are pretty smug because theirs was the biggest blaze in the neighborhood. They plan to rebuild for the fifth time and will add a more flamable section designed to bring the fire into the main part of the house faster. (Funny, but not entirely so.)

I don't want to bail out fools via government aid or my insurance premiums. The current bailout of financial 'geniuses' is more than enough. Suddenly now our fearless leaders turn to us taxpayers to right the wrongs that were invisible to them until after the big contributors made it safely to the Alps with their plunder.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 6:20PM
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And I don't appreciate using my tax money to fund golden parachutes for greedy jerks who should have known better! Bring on regulation!!! It's the only thing that keeps a lid on greed.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 6:25PM
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chisue, the entire Oregon coastline is public. :)

And don't think for a moment that we taxpayers are paying for these bailouts and golden parachutes. It's all borrowed money. It's our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren who are paying. :(

    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 7:35PM
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after the events of the last week, I no longer have any idea what is fair and what is not. It seems that the universe is totally random.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 12:37AM
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If someone wasn't footing the bill for people to rebuild (my taxes and insurance premiums) they would have quit rebuilding in these areas by now. At least flood plains feed us and they aren't that densely populated. The last really devasting tornado in Omaha anyway was in the 70s I think.
Anyone who can afford to rebuild in areas REPEATEDLY and REGULARLY subject to natural diasaster - whether it be the beaches of Galvaston or certain areas of New Orleans, or the California hills, Malibu etc. and assume the risk totally on their own dime is welcome to it. (I remember a few years ago watching a woman wail on TV about how this was the third time a mudslide had wiped on their small town - but they were determined to rebuild - I'm sure the California taxpayers did so)
Put it this way - if an individual went out and built a house on a small rise in a bog - and no one would insure them for flood because well it is a bog - but we did it anyway because whatever, the level of that bog never got above a certain point in a gazillion years - and an incredible never before rainy season hit and flooded the house - would the individual be bailed out by anyone? Not to my knowledge no. SOL baby.
So why is it different for hurricane prone beaches? Because its an expensive more desirable place to live? Because its something most Americans would never be able to afford?
The only waterfront I can afford is a bog but I can't afford the risk:)

    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 6:01AM
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I know that qdog has said that I am not allowed an opinion on his thread but I'm having trouble keeping my mouth shut. Prohibiting people from living in risk prone areas is virtually impossible. Every year, I watch on my TV as people's homes & livelihoods are destroyed by tornadoes over a large portion of our country. If it happens can happen again, right? So, do we forbid those people from rebuilding? Of course we don't. Same thing for western wildfires & earthquakes.

Gradually upgrading construction to withstand various natural disasters is prudent but not allowing building along 3/4 of the country's coastline is not only impractical it's ridiculous.

We live on the Long Island Sound shoreline. We have both HO & FEMA Flood insurance. In fact, our monthly insurance premiums total more than our mortgage & real estate taxes combined. We can afford those premiums & we can afford to rebuild, if necessary. Statistically though we are more apt to lose our property to an ordinary housefire than hurricane. One of the most important home protections we do is keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen in a prominent location!

Sure, New England gets hurricanes. In fact, one of the nation's worst hurricane disasters occurred in New England...The Great New England Hurricane of 1938. There were two devastating hurricanes in 1954...Hurricanes Edna & Carol. H Carol came ashore less than 2 miles from our home. But, the truth is that even though we certainly have hurricane risk we are more concerned with storm surge from an ordinary Nor'easter. Nor'easters occur regularly in New England as in several times/year. Patriot's Day '07 brought a Nor'easter here with a 5-1/2' storm surge. We are at an elevation of seven feet. If we would have been flooded out with that storm FEMA's increased deductibles would not have applied because Nor'easters are not named. The higher deductibles are only attached for "named storms". I can only conclude that insurance companies are terrified of the word 'hurricane' not the actual flood risk of our property. For those of you not in the northeast...a Nor'easter is often referred to as a "Winter Hurricane". They are a cyclonic type of storm & can pack quite a punch.

Many of my neighbors cannot afford FEMA flood insurance. They are elderly & have been on this penninsula for decades. Their homes, like ours, were built many years ago predating hurricane building codes. Some of these residences are 250 years old...others 50-60 years old. Should those people be forced out of their homes? If so, why them & not those who were wiped out in all of the tornados this year? Natural disasters happen everywhere. NOLA is a special situation that needs to be remedied & quite possibly some areas of greater NOLA have risk too high to justify rebuilding but not to rebuild any of the city is unjustified. As a country, we need the Port of NOLA. The Army Corps of Engineers needs adequate funding to protect the city (and we most certainly need to stop the graft & mismanagement of funds!).

As property owners, we should all take steps to protect life & property. A hurricane makes landfall in New England once every 10-20 years. Few Category 4 or possibly Category 5 hurricanes have ever reached New England...notably in 1635 and 1815. The Great New England Hurricane of 1938 did produce winds gusting to Category 4 & 5 strength but made landfall as a Cat 3 storm. The next truly devastating events were the back-to-back blows from H. Edna & H. Carol in 1954 (both Cat 3s). Is that frequency sufficient that we should not be allowed to rebuild when the next storm arrives? I don't believe it is.

For Southern New England, this season marks the 54th anniversary of one of the most destructive hurricane seasons in our history, the Summer of 1954. The 1954 season brought New England major hurricanes Carol and Edna. These powerful Category 3 hurricanes struck just 11 days apart, with Carol arriving on August 31st followed by Edna on September 11th. These two storms combined to produce millions of dollars worth of damage to homes, businesses and the boating industry as well as claiming dozens of lives due to storm surge and river related flooding. There is no denying that these hurricanes were devastating to southern New England.

Carol and Edna were the last major hurricanes to have struck our region.

For those who might be interested..."The Perfect Storm" or as we call it here in New England, "The Halloween Storm of 1991" was officially a 'no name' storm.

I agree that should we lose the house to hurricane (or Nor'easter) we should be required to rebuild to current hurricane standards & we are insured for that possibility. But, should we be completely denied the right to rebuild when the inevitable next hurricane makes landfall? No.

In our case, it's a possibility that we could actually lose the building site to storm surge & eroding shorelines. Our home is sited on terra firma, however, several of my neighbor's homes are on fill from dredging the Mystic Channel. Should a storm surge take out the land fill area even though we are on terra firma that would make us more prone to eroding soils. We are willing to assume that risk & do not expect taxpapers to compensate us for the loss.

Here's a picture of an October 30, 2006 Nor'easter. The picture was taken from our car as we drove down to check out how far the waters from LIS had encroached. We are less than a football field away from the shoreline in this direction & it's our lowest, most vunerable flooding potential although we have water on 3 sides. NOTE: Check out the power lines flapping in the winds! On the left you can see the height of the wall of water rolling in. FEMA doesn't care about our flooding potential from these storms...only hurricanes. It's nuts.


Here is a link that might be useful: The Perfect Storm

    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 9:09AM
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If you can pay to rebuild at your own costs,build to current code, and not ask Joe Q Public to help foot the bill,then maybe,just maybe,i'd be ok with that...However, how many people can do such,besides tricia?

T,my reply about not letting you comment was meant as a joke,and i believe you took it as such... :)

    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 10:30AM
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Yes, qdog, I did know you were joking! ;)

If our climate is really entering a new phase (no matter the cause) then as a country we'll need to reassess risk management nationwide. Since we have millions more population than we did in the 50s & we're not all going to huddle together in Wyoming...attend your community's Emergency Management meetings & voice your concerns & ideas. Here, in New England, we do that thru the Town Meeting concept. It's going to take all of us to put our thinking caps on if the weather of the past five years is going to become the new norm. The issue is not just coastal flooding but also drought, crop failure, more fires, blizzards, & yes...more & stronger hurricanes.


    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 10:52AM
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It's a free country, but let's not forget Rights and Responsibilities. I'm fine with it if someone wants to personally assume all responsibility for living in a risky location (flood, fire, earthquake, Bigfoot sightings area, whatever).

The son of dear friends discouraged his parents from 'putting all their money' into a house in northern California because of earthquake risk. That's his *business*: Risk Management! However, he and his sister and parents now all live thisclose to the fault -- along with millions of other people and with new construction all over the place. No amount of improved building standards are going to help when (not if) The Big One comes. And...just like aiding rebuilding in the *hole* that is most of New Orleans, the rest of us taxpayers will bail out the survivors.

Several years ago people stopped rebuilding along the Mississippi when they learned WE would no longer finance such risky locations -- not the Feds, not insurance companies. A whole town hiked uphill and reestablished itself. I'm fine funding that; I don't want to fund others who won't accept aid to MOVE but want us to shoulder their choices to live in a risky location.

BTW, I'm also fine with personal-choice lifestyles that put individuals at risk healthwise -- as long as they pay the freight for their increased chosen risks: drugs, smoking, non-medically-attributable obesity, etc. This puts me at odds with myself as a supporter of National Health Coverage. Oh well...some such coverage might prevent the conditions.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 11:28AM
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i agree that the homeowners should get reimbursed since basically this is an "eminent domain" issue. the state is taking private property for public use, and the owners should be paid fair market value for it.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 11:28AM
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The situation in Galveston as mentioned in the first post is really much more complicated then people merely building homes is areas prone to natural disasters.

The Galveston situation is related to LOTS THAT ARE GONE...UNDER WATER..or AT THE EDGE OF THE SHORE so that when high tide comes in, the lot is UNDER WATER with fish and sharks and dolphins swimming in that water where the house once sat.

Nobody can build on a lot that no longer is a lot because the land (that once was there) is now gone. If the surveryors come out to replat the lot, they will use the known markers that are inland and then use their measuring methods and they will need scuba gear to mark the corner of where many of those lots used to exist.

It is impossible for someone to rebuild on those lots. It is not even an argument. The lots are gone. Most people had lots that were so small that they cannot simply move the new home landward. This is because someone else owns the other land. Those folks that used to be 2 lots from the beach, well some of them are now beachfront because the houses (and lots) that were on the beach before got washed away.

Don't worry, tax dollars or insurance dollars are not going to be given to folks that just lost their land. The land was not insured. It is no longer land since the storm eroded the land and now it is sea bottom.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 4:42PM
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I can understand what you're saying but where exactly would you put all of these people that are living near a fault line?

In lived in Tustin, CA at the time of the 1971 San Fernando Earthquake (Sylmar). It was a 6.6 quake. The damage was extensive including numerous collapsed freeway overpasses & the collapse of the VA hospital. Tustin was at least 100 miles south of the epicenter. The balcony of our apartment dropped off & the street in front of our building opened up 2' across & we couldn't see the bottom. I also worked in Tustin. That building was condemned due to the quake. Yet, I was over 100 miles away! Assuming you're willing to contribute to the cost, where exactly should we we relocate all of these people?

From Maine to the Keys to Brownsville...what, say, 50 miles inland? Where would we relocate those people. Houston's about 50 miles from the Gulf. There was a lot of damage in downtown Houston from H. Ike. Apparently, 50 miles is not far enough??

The same weekend that H. Ike was pounding Texas/LA your area was being flooded by what, 8-10" approximately, of heavy rain? I know somebody in Chicago & their flooding pictures are quite dramatic...worse than my DD & DSIL who live in northwest Houston. It doesn't take a hurricane to cause extensive damage & losses. Should they leave Chicago?

Here's a picture taken from our boat on our last Mystic/Annapolic trip (2005) entering NYC. Take a look at the elevation of Manhattan. Yes, it's a problem but what the 'hay' are we supposed to pragmatically do about it?

We can't avoid risks & we can't relocate 3/4th of the country's population. So, we have to live with occasional losses, pick-up the pieces, & carry forth. I sent aid to NOLA for Katrina. I sent aid to those who suffered in the San Diego fires a couple summers ago. I've sent aid to Houston. And, I'll send aid to those who suffer the next blow. Who knows...the best laid plans can fall to pieces when faced with the enemy & I might someday find myself trying to get a few hours sleep on some FEMA cot somewhere & I would hope that Americans would chip in & send a few MREs my way.

We can mitigate risk but we can't run. There's no place to run. Sooner, or later, natural disaster will find us.


Here is a link that might be useful: Columbia University

    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 5:27PM
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tricia,thanks you for posting all of that about the hurricanes--as i grew up on the north fork hearing all about the hurricanes of '38 and '54. it was very,very interesting. that storm of '91 was a doozy,my brother still lives out there and has some excellent video. btw,,he lost a cottage in jamesport to the erosion on the sound. i think five or six went off the cliff that week.
is that picture you posted the causeway betwen orient and east marion? as a kid i caught a ton of blow fish in thast bay--boy do i miss that part of the world!

    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 7:02PM
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tricae - its both an issue of degree and future decisions. No we can't change the past. No we can't find places to live that are totally risk free. We are not talking the randomness of tornadoes in the midwest. There are places that are at risk for significant damage regularly and repeatedly and that's what we are talking about here.
I think its stupid, not a word I use very often, to continue to rebuild in those areas where the risk is significant and one can pretty well determine that catastropic damage will occur again soon. I'm not sure what the threshold is -you pick one based on frequency - had to totally rebuild the house more than twice in the past 30 years? Or money - have to keep pouring money into levees that aren't going to hold, replace beach over and over and over so the house isn't in the middle of the ocean? (BTW I live near a town, Xenia OH, known as freakishly tornado prone and it can pass both these thresholds easily).
How many millions if not more dollars have we spent trying to make the new New Orleans levee's better? There are already problems and no assurrances that there won't be another break. How many more millions are we going to continue to spend on a regular basis in New Orleans, that could be helping the disadvantaged elsewhere, so people can continue to live below the water line? Sure people have been living near the coast for 250 years in New England. I can't think of a time when significant areas of the coast have been evacuated on any routine or regular basis (you drove down to take those pictures, not something I would have done in Galvaston or New Orleans). But really, if the sea levels started to really encroach - are we supposed to build levees because someone's great great great grandfather lived in that old house?
Things change. People move. Otherwise we'd all still be living in caves. Sure Chicago had some flooding. My mother is in Michigan and I went up to help with water in her basement. More standing water around my hometown than I've seen in a really long time. But it doesn't happen that often, - her house wasn't buried under a mudslide that happens every three years, or go up in flames every 5 years, her lot didn't disappear, and its not in an area that's costing millions to ensure that none of those things happen.
As for feeling for the people in those areas. Just because we don't agree with rebuilding doesn't mean we don't care or donate to help people in time of need. I'm sure the areas that flooded in the Midwest are still struggling. A lot of people are hurting out there in many less dramatic ways. It would be nice to be able to help them.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 7:42PM
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marys1000 -- That was superb! Thank you.

I was thinking today about ancestors born in Scotland. It wasn't their fault that they were evicted from their crofts by the shortsighted greed of their timbber-happy landlords or because of the laws of primoginature. It wasn't *fair* but it was reality. They America. Fortunately, Scotland's free school system prepared many for more than farming. (Their graves in Mt. Greenwood, NYC will be inundated if our global temperatures continue to rise.)

'Stuff' continues to happen. It's always pay now or pay (more) later. There's a lot more good land in America, but eventually we hit the end of the migrant road of trash, burn and move on.

BTW it is rare that my area, Chicagoland, suffers climatic catastrophe. Basements flooding? No big deal, given the magnitude of a so far unique double whammy of weather fronts. You see TV coverage of people who choose to live on the rivers and in low-lying areas -- plus greedy (poorly regulated) and overstretched electric utilities.

For too many in the USA it seems to have been too easy, too good for too long.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 8:59PM
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Comparing Galveston to the NE coast is a bit unfair. Obviously there are risks to all places. Living on the coast is a risky thing - and wonderful thing - and it is not a risk that should be subsidized by taxpayers. Galveston is in a dangerous location - similar to NO.

Come on - obviously you can't build below the waterline. Here in NC - there is a rule that if you are knocked down then you have to build x(50?) number of feet from the vegatation line. It is common sense and reasonable. It means that your land could become worthless after a storm - and everyone that has bought land knows that (or should). The thought of being able to build right up to the water line is probably unwise.

I don't see why eminent domain applies to mother nature..

    Bookmark   September 21, 2008 at 9:09AM
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If people choose to build in high risk areas they should not expect the taxpayer to rescue them.

If people were given subsidies to relocate to safer land and refused to go they should not expect the taxpayer to rescue them.

Developers and indivuduals should either be denied permits to build in high-risk areas or be required to inform buyers that they cannot expect to be rescued by taxpayers when risk becomes reality.

Stop building in unsupportable areas. (Where will AZ and NV be finding additional water?) Pay to relocate people. Stop paying people to rebuild over and over and over in unstable areas.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2008 at 12:23PM
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Many New Orleanians (about 100,000) did relocate--to Houston!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2008 at 11:09AM
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Well, I guess I live in a "high-risk" area, being in Southern California. I don't live in a mud-slide area, and I don't live in the foothills where there are fires, but if "the big one" ever hits, then we may be in trouble. It's a risk that my husband and I have chosen to take by living here, and we recognize that we may lose everything if it ever does hit; getting earthquake insurance is nigh impossible. Having said that, though, I don't expect a bail-out by the taxpayers. If we lose it all, we lose it; if you can't face the possibility of rebuilding your life from nothing, then you probably shouldn't be living in a high-risk area.

It seems to me that there are vast sections of the country that have issues, though -- earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, fires. And there's only so much suitable land to build new houses on (telling people to move some place else is all well and good, but people want to be where there are jobs!) As the population continues to grow and spread out, and our global climate continues to become more unstable, I imagine we're going to continue to have further problems in this regard.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2008 at 12:25PM
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I don't see why the state shd be required to reimburse people for the value of their homes *before* the storm. They didn't condemn the homes before the storm. They did it after, when the homes were twisted piles of sticks. Not that they should pay anything, really--the land was washed away, so the homes (sticks) are now on state land. If they really wanted to be a b@stard about it, they could demand the homeowners clear their junk off the state land. I haven't heard that they're doing that.

Really, what it comes down to is that these people built houses on a BARRIER ISLAND--which is a glorified sandbar. They shouldn't be surprised that the homes were destroyed in a storm--the surprising thing is that it took so long. 100 years since the last one. Amazing run of luck.

The Outer Banks are next. Hardly a tree left on the whole thing--nonstop strip malls and vacation homes. There's a giant sand dune (where the Wright brothers practiced flying) well over 100 ft tall. They think it was deposited there by a really big storm. I don't want to hear any whining when a merely large storm hits and washes away all those bldgs. Or buries them under 100 ft of sand washed in from the Atlantic Ocean.

Everyplace is subject to weather and stuff. But those who build on a sandbar in the ocean, or a cliff that likes to fall down when it rains, or in the middle of the forest in western wildfire country, has no business complaining and expecting "the taxpayers" to pay them for their losses and help them rebuild in the same damn spot. Nor should they be surprised when insurance companies don't want to insure them at any price.

We've done way too much subsidizing of risk in this country, as witnessed by the meltdown of the financial markets recently. If people--and companies--don't suffer when their risks come back to bite them, then they just keep taking bigger and bigger risks. When it's someone else's money ultimately on the line, they don't take sensible precautions. And we wind up w/ the new Depression. Thanks but no thanks.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2008 at 1:20PM
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