Over $129 billion worth of New York City property at risk from flooding

East, Sustainability
Friday, October 31, 2014
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Lower Manhattan during Sandy. (Flickr / WarmSleepy)

Lower Manhattan during Sandy. (Flickr / WarmSleepy)

The New York City Comptroller’s office marked the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy with a dire report on the expected costs of the next big storm. Based on updated flood insurance maps from FEMA, the report finds that over $129 billion worth of property sits within the city’s 100-year floodplain – an increase of more than 120% from earlier maps. (100-year flood zones cover areas that have a 1% chance of flooding each year.) “In short, FEMA’s revised maps depict a greatly expanded floodplain that places almost three and a half times as many structures in high-risk zones and anticipates greater severity of flooding for those buildings already in the flood zone,” reads the report. “This new landscape holds important implications for resiliency investments, flood insurance, and the role of government in protecting homeowners from the next great storm.”

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HUD Secretary Announces a Comprehensive Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Strategy

City Terrain, East
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
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HUD Secretary Donovan and Mayor Bloomberg announce Hurricane Sandy rebuilding strategy. (Nicole Anderson / AN)

HUD Secretary Donovan (right) and Mayor Bloomberg (left) announce Hurricane Sandy rebuilding strategy. (Nicole Anderson / AN)

On the roof of a construction site in Greenpoint, Brooklyn Monday, U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan announced the release of a new report outlining 69 rebuilding strategies designed to both help Hurricane Sandy–ravaged communities and to serve as a model for coastal regions across the country that are vulnerable to storm surges and rising sea levels. Close to the waterfront, the site overlooked the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant—one of the few sewage treatment facilities to survive Sandy intact. It was a fitting place for Secretary Donovan, who also serves as chair of the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, to introduce this bundle of new recommendations that address both immediate and long-term needs of coastal communities, including resilient and region-wide approaches to rebuilding and infrastructure investment. A number of the initiatives in the report, such as HUD’s “Rebuild by Design” competition, are already underway.

Continue reading after the jump.

New York City to Match Sandy-Damaged Buildings With Design Professionals

East, Newsletter
Friday, March 1, 2013
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Houses in Rockaways after Hurricane Sandy (Courtesy of Anique/Ma Neek/Flickr)

Houses in Rockaways after Hurricane Sandy. (Anique/Ma Neek/Flickr)

For property owners of Hurricane Sandy-ravaged buildings, the road to recovery just got easier. Starting on Monday, the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) will offer a new program that provides design consultations to property owners and design professionals who want to reconstruct their buildings. Department officials and technical experts will explain the building code and zoning requirements for properties in special flood hazard areas, as indicated on insurance rate maps or on updated Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) maps.

According to the announcement from the DOB: “This program is designed to accelerate the approval process for these projects, assist homeowners with their decisions on reconstruction and better ensure that new flood recommendations and standards are incorporated into the design and construction of these affected buildings.”

The consultations will be held at the Department’s NYC Development Hub at 80 Centre Street in Manhattan. Property owners will sit down with officials and compile a list of recommendations to apply to the construction plans that they intend on submitting to the DOB.

Houses of Worship to Receive FEMA Grants.  Stained glass window in Cathedral of St. John the Divine (Courtesy of Loozrboy) Houses of Worship damaged by Hurricane Sandy were initially excluded from receiving federal aid based on the constitutional separation of church and state. But in an interesting turn of events, the House of Representatives has approved a bill that would provide grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to rebuild synagogues, mosques, and churches. The New York Times reported that FEMA has stipulated that, according to its rules and regulations, it can only allocate federal money to “repair and replace ‘furnishings and equipment,’” which puts into question what items “are eligible.” It comes as no surprise that the American Civil Liberties Union and Congressman Jerrold Nadler oppose this legislation, calling it unconstitutional. (Photo: Loozrboy/Flickr)

 

A Boost in Federal Funds Expedite Hurricane Sandy Recovery Efforts

East
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
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Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy (Courtesy of David Sundberg/ESTO)

Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy (Courtesy of David Sundberg/ESTO)

Now that Congress has passed the $51 billion emergency aid package, Mayor Bloomberg is forging ahead with the recovery plans. The City will set aside $1.77 billion in federal funds dedicated to rebuilding homes, businesses, public housing and infrastructure that were damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Bloomberg did, however, warn that it could likely take a few months for the programs “to be approved and implemented.” Since the storm, the city, in conjunction with FEMA, has helped homeowners in New York through its Rapid Repairs Program. Read More

After Hurricane Sandy, Thousands of Buildings Added to FEMA’s New Flood Maps

East
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
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Damage from Hurricane Sandy. (David Sundberg / ESTO)

Damage from Hurricane Sandy. (David Sundberg / ESTO)

In post-Hurricane Sandy New York, it looks like Zone A is expanding, and stretching beyond waterfront properties to encompass buildings farther inland. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released preliminary new maps on Monday revealing that an additional 35,000 homes and buildings are now listed in flood zones. Business and homeowners included in these new zones will likely see their insurance rates rise.

Continue reading after the jump.

FEMA Says No to Houses of Worship.  (David Sundberg / ESTO) Churches and synagogues are among the structures that suffered considerable damage from Hurricane Sandy, and while several non-profit organizations qualify for federal disaster assistance grants, houses of worship will not be eligible for aid because of a constitutional separation of church and state. A group of Jewish organizations is not giving up and continues to apply for grants. Senator Joseph I. Lieberman has presented an amendment to the Hurricane Sandy recovery appropriations bill to add houses of worship to the list of eligible organizations. (Photo: David Sundberg / ESTO)

 

To Rebuild or Relocate? Cuomo Offers Options.  Houses damaged by Hurricane Sandy (Courtesy of David Sundberg) Over the last few months, there’s been much talk about rebuilding smarter after Hurricane Sandy to prepare for the next super storm. But one alternative has gone under the radar until today’s State of the State Address when New York Governor Cuomo proposed the Recreate NY-Home Buyout Program that would provide funds to buy out homeowners who wish to sell their properties and relocate elsewhere. Capital New York reported that a resident estimated that 60 percent of his Fox Beach community in Staten Island wants a buyout, and through FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, that just might be possible. But for a buyout to happen, it requires a several-step process that would need the “Bloomberg administration to petition the state for grant money.” If Cuomo follows through on his proposal, residents of Fox Beach and other waterfront communities who want to relocate might get their wish. (Photo: David Sundberg/ESTO)

 

New York City Planning Looks To Better Prep Buildings After Sandy

East
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
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The Edge in Williamsburg. (Courtesy of Thorton Tomasetti, the structural engineers of The Edge)

The Edge in Williamsburg. (Courtesy of Thorton Tomasetti, the structural engineers of The Edge)

While the majority of New York City is pre-occupied with the recovery efforts post-Hurricane Sandy, the Department of City Planning (DCP) is discussing and introducing different measures that can be taken to protect our buildings from future storms. At a review session yesterday, Howard Slatkin, the Director of Sustainability and Deputy Director of Strategic Planning for the DCP, presented Hurricane Sandy: Initial Lessons for Buildings. From the start, Slatkin maintained that newly constructed buildings designed to code “fared better.” He listed several buildings—such as The Edge in Williamsburg, IKEA in Red Hook, and Arverne by the Sea in the Rockaways—as examples of new developments that successfully withstood the storm.

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Home Is Where the Sea Box Is: Shipping Container Housing Could Help With Disaster Relief

East
Thursday, November 29, 2012
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Sea Box Prototype (Courtesy Sea Box)

Sea Box Prototype (Courtesy Sea Box)

In New York City’s post-Sandy life, the important issue of provisional housing after a disaster is more prominent than ever. Although the plans will not affect those impacted by the recent storm, over the past five years the Bloomberg administration has been quietly developing modular apartment blocks for disaster housing relief consisting of ever-adaptable shipping containers. Relief housing for future emergencies could be quickly trucked in and stacked to create housing for dozens of displaced residents.

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Big Moola for NOLA

National
Thursday, January 28, 2010
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A preliminary scheme for Charity Hospital's replacement.

On the heels of the Saints’ victory, the Big Easy had another big win this week, this time in the form of a $474.8 million FEMA payment. But preservationists have been dealt a major blow in their fight to save 70-year-old Charity Hospital in New Orleans, along with a tract of historic homes and structures in the city’s Mid-City district. For the past four years, Louisiana state officials have been at loggerheads with FEMA over the extent of Hurricane Katrina’s damages to Charity, which has been shuttered since the storm. On Wednesday, a federal arbitration panel ordered FEMA to pay nearly all of the requested replacement costs for the state-owned hospital. The ruling was a triumph for city and state officials who argued that Charity was more than 50 percent damaged by the hurricane and therefore eligible for replacement, instead of repair. Read More

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