For beachfront communities confronting encroaching tides and more frequent coastal storms, the answer for many has been to build up. The result is a shoreline fortified by towering houses on stilts built to withstand blustering winds and turbulent waters, a development that has left some missing the charm of the one-level beach cottages of yesteryear.
Elevated homes are a good -- if not the only -- alternative to coastal retreat, according to
"For us to be able to stay in some of these coastal areas, we're going to have to build up," he said.
And the facts back him up. Since 1978, the federally run National Flood Insurance Program has paid out
To combat the increasing costs of rebuilding homes damaged in coastal storms, state and federal building codes have adapted to make waterfront homes more resilient. New homes built in high-risk flood zones, which includes nearly all beachfront homes on the
In neighborhoods like
Three Houghs Neck neighbors have sued to stop the renovation of a one-story beach house on
Aneta Talarcyzk, one of the neighbors suing who lives next door to the property, said she's worried about the changing nature of her already-crowded neighborhood.
"It's going to mean an 18-foot deck is casting a shadow over our public beach," Talarcyzk said.
To conform with building codes in the high-risk flood zone, the house at
Houghs Neck, historically spared from the nor'easters that bludgeon towns to the south, was hard hit this year in a series of March storms and Rossi said the neighborhood is likely to see more damage as the effects of climate change worsen.
It's a reality
Crary, who also serves on the
Her last street-level home, a 100-year-old beach house at
Nearly three feet of seawater flooded the building and because the house sits on land in a special flood hazard zone, Crary won't be able to make repairs to the home without elevating it above the base flood elevation, which in her case is 5.5 feet.
"I would never elevate to just the base flood elevation though," she said. "Because if you go three more feet, then you get a huge discount on your flood insurance. It can mean the difference between paying
Houses in areas classified as high risk can only be insured through the National Flood Insurance Program.
Crary's home will be one of the last in Minot to be elevated, but Rossi said by some estimates as many as 80 percent of homes in some flood-prone
In Houghs Neck, neighbors are fighting elevation, which Rossi said is counterproductive and it would be better if they embraced it and elevated their homes too.
"For us to stay in many of these areas, our streetscapes are going to to have to change. There's just no getting around it," he said. "But I've seen a lot of creative ways of engineering these elevated homes that will allow our communities to resemble what they were and still be resilient."
Cost can be a major deterrent for homeowners seeking to secure their properties against flood damage. Crary said it will cost her at least
The National Flood Insurance Program offers a one-time
Instead, Rossi is advocating for state and local authorities to pick up the slack.
On Thursday, the Legislature passed an environmental bond bill containing an amendment by state Sen.
"I think this is a move in a positive direction for all coastal homeowners in
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