- Application deadlines
- Waterfront planning
BY ROBERT TRENTLYON | The real estate business has survived for years on 30-year mortgages. Will banks continue to issue 30-year mortgages if a building is in a flood zone? In the past a bank could lend money with the assurance that the building would be there for 30 years, and if the owner did not pay his monthly interest, the bank could foreclose. But what if the building is washed away or under water? Then what recourse has the bank? This is no longer a hypothetical question. That is why New York City government should not encourage building in the city’s flood zones.
Locating new construction in a flood plain will just increase the problem of trying to rescue people whose lives and property are threatened by the next hurricane. Present plans are dependent on a government bailout when hurricanes or high water damage buildings. The developers are willing to take the risk of flooding, because there is actually no risk to them. Developers never use any of their own money in developing a new project. The developer borrows the money and sells the residence to an eager buyer who either pays cash or takes out a long-term mortgage.
There is no question new condo owners want a river or ocean view. More than 50 percent of the land in New York City is safe from flooding. It is there that new buildings should be located. City government should insist that developers build on higher ground. The Mayor’s grandiose plans that are at sea level should be scrapped or built where damage or destruction from flooding is unlikely to happen. The present proposed patchwork plan of defenses will not be sufficient to prevent flooding from the rising ocean or from storm surges. There must be a proven plan that can be used to create barriers high enough and strong enough to keep out the ocean and that can be built higher as the sea level rises. Even such barriers may only give us another hundred years.
Robert Trentlyon, a community activist and formerly the publisher of The Villager, Downtown Express, Chelsea-Clinton News and other newspapers, has been discussing the need for storm surge barriers since 2009.