Rebuilding? Stop! You might regret it when new regulations are issued.
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STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Homeowners with the cash or who have been lucky enough to get insurance money are rebuilding — some at a furious pace — up and down Staten Island’s east coast. They want to get their homes back to what they were, and fast.
To them, we have a simple message: Stop it.
We understand why the borough president and the mayor want to get people back in their homes through Rapid Repair and the Quick Start program. There’s simply not enough temporary housing for them.
And that’s the right thing to do. Those programs get heat and hot water back, and basic electric service. Add to that mold remediation, and that’s where the spending should stop.
FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is poised to release new flood maps for Staten Island, and you can bet that the flood zones — read that Zone A — will expand. Not only that, but New York City will be studying them closely to determine new building requirements and zoning guidelines.
Again, it’s the right thing to do.
So let’s say you have replaced your boiler, hot water heater, and wiring and then went ahead and installed new ceramic or hardwood flooring, walls, and ceiling. Then you painted and brought in all new appliances.
You’re happy. The government might not be. At some point, you might be told your house needs to be raised five feet, or 10 feet. And you need a certain number of FEMA-approved flood vents in your basement. And who knows what else. And if you do not comply, your flood insurance will skyrocket — some speculating to a staggering $20,000 a year.
Of course everyone wants to get back to normal, and as soon as possible. But it might well be a foolish venture to get things done in a few months when waiting six, eight or even a year might save a boatload of money, and heartache.
The city is saying preliminary guidelines will be out in May. Wait it out. You might not be so comfortable in your dream home till then. But Sandy was the storm of the century. No one should be expected to right the ship we were in so fast.
By Staten Island Advance Editorial