A Howard Beach home after Hurricane Sandy, photo courtesy of Pamela Andrade’s Flickr
For the first time since 1983, the Federal Emergency Mangement Agency is redrawing New York’s flood maps, taking into account the consequences of climate change like rising sea levels and stronger storms. With hundreds of miles of coastline and a growing number of developments sprouting along its waterfront, New York has more residents living in high-risk flood zones than any other city in the United States, according to the New York Times. FEMA’s new map, while still years away from completion, could have a profound effect on the city’s future developments and zoning regulations. It could place more residents and buildings in high-risk flood zones, requiring pricey flood insurance as well as tougher building codes and restrictions on new developments.
More this way
In a post-Sandy world, waterfront residents are faced with the choice of whether or not to raise their homes. Some may worry about the esthetics of this type of renovation, but Bates Masi + Architects‘ Northwest Harbor residence shows that raised homes can be strikingly beautiful.
The green-minded firm works with the environment and not against it. Instead of modifying this East Hampton terrain, they allowed the natural landscape to take the lead. The stunning result is supported by 16 sturdy stilts that raise this wooden dwelling right above an unsettling floodplain terrain while improving the overall environmental quality of the unique wooden home.
Learn more about this stunning high up home
Since FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) updated its flood-zone maps after Superstorm Sandy, we learned that it could cost the city $5 billion to comply with the new regulations, as 60,000 additional buildings were identified as being within the flood zones. This brings the total to 84,000 buildings worth over $129 billion, according to a new report released by the Office of New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer on the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy.
What does this mean for the city?
Following Superstorm Sandy, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) updated its flood-zone maps for the first time since 1983, more than doubling the included buildings to 70,000. Therefore, many more property owners are facing the decision of whether to stormproof their homes or pay up for insurance premiums that would go up as much as 18%. But going with the former choice is not as easy as one may think.
FEMA guidelines don’t take into account the unique makeup of New York City with its rowhouses and high-rises, so to comply with the current regulations it would cost the city more than $5 billion, according to studies produces by Crain’s. Those who would be absorbing the costs include middle-class homeowners; NYCHA, which owns more than 25% of rental units in the flood zone ;and owners of large apartment towers, which account for 61% of the 5.5 million properties in FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program. All of these entities must follow the same guidelines as the plan is laid out now, but the city and a group of nonprofits are asking the agency to make changes to the insurance program.
More about the issue ahead