Daily Archives: March 27, 2013

The useful idiots got their wish

No BloodRemember how Iraq was supposed to be all about the evil duo, Bush – Cheney and their thirst for oil? It’s all China’s now, and, just as the demonstrators wanted, our asian friends didn’t shed a drop of their blood to get it.


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Big sale up in Conyers


1987 sales pitch

Is fame of former owner a good sales pitch?

16 Hurlingham has a contract. Asked $13.9 million 688 days ago, dropped to $12.950 and presumably will sell for less than that. This house sells every couple of years: $12.0 in March, 2007, $12.4 in June of that year (if the GAR history is correct), $12.225 in July, 2009, and now again. I’m not sure anyone’s actually lived in it since David Cone bought it new with his Mets money back in 1998. It’s now one tired, dated house and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it ends up being scraped, either by whoever buys it this time or when it next hits the stage in, say, 2015.


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He probably thought it was a nuclear bomb

Sequester now!

Sequester now!

TSA agent finds object on ground, aims it at his fellow agents and pulls trigger to see what happens.

Six TSA agents hospitalized after being pepper-sprayed by, ah, a TSA agent.  For some unknown reason, the TSA didn’t mention this incident until the NY Post heard about it and investigated. Feel safer now?


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Attention, Riverside shoppers


19 Terrace Avenue

19 Terrace Avenue

19 Terrace Avenue dropped its price again today and is now asking $2.495 million. I really like this house and the street it’s on. Beautiful renovation work, its one drawback might be that it’s more vertical living than horizontal, in that its space is spread out over three floors rather than sprawling over the (smallish, admittedly) yard. But it works for me and I think it would work for many families. Its first price of $3.495 back in 2008 was kind of silly but at a million dollars less, it looks very attractive. Certainly worth checking out.


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Time to hire Mike Finkbeiner

It occurs to me that homeowners in the newly expanded flood zones should probably order up a new survey prior to listing their house for sale. Get the bad news out front and most important, have readily available the information a buyer’s going to want and need before making a decision to purchase. Uncertainty kills more deals than almost anything else I know. Mike’s the guy who’s been so graciously interpreting all this stuff (and truth be told, warning FWIW’s readers what was coming for years now, but did we listen? I didn’t). Here’s his link, which is also permanently posted over on the right.

And buyers, if the owners of a property you’re interested in haven’t done this homework, I’d add a Finkbeiner flood assessment survey to other contingencies, like a building inspection.


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Here’s an example of the new flood zone recalculations.

68 Willowmere Circle

68 Willowmere Circle

Just because its around the corner from my own house and. like my own residence, will see a significant increase in its base flood elevation, I thought I’d pick 68 Willowmere Circle in Riverside, on the market at $2.995 million, and look at the complexities coming our way.

The house was built in 1957 and renovated in 2007. It’s not direct waterfront, it’s across the street on a knoll and I’d guess that, like my own house, it’s never flooded, not one drop, since it was built. Which is irrelevant. What does matter is that according to the town table listing base flood elevations (BFE), the land at 68 Willowmere had a BFE of 11′ in 2010 and as of July, will now have a BFE of 15. In other words, whatever could have been built here three years ago at one height will now have to be four feet higher. Was the house in compliance – above the 11′ BFE in 2010? Probably not, given its 1957 building date. If it wasn’t, then improvements/repairs will be limited to 50% of the building’s value – more than that and everything, must be raised to 15′. The town appraises the structure here at $300,000, so allowable improvement would be limited to $150,000, including the costs of that 2007 renovation. My guess is that this house has used up its allowance already.

Even if it was in compliance back in 2010 there’s not much relief offered, because the full allowable improvement allowance is still just half the buildings’ current value, and even the full $150,000 won’t go far – not in Greenwich.

Please understand that I am not singling out this particular house as one uniquely affected by the new flood rules. To the contrary, I picked it at random because so many houses near the water are now similarly afflicted. And $3 million for a half-acre building lot in Willowmere Circle may be a fine price, or buyers may fall in love with this newly renovated home exactly the way it is and be content. The point of the exercise is to illustrate the information buyers now need to compare and evaluate houses: what is its elevation? What flood zone is it in? How much has been spent on improvements since 1986? Was the house in compliance with 2010 flood zone rules? How many coins in my pocket?

Etc.  Things just got tougher.


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Testing the Old Greenwich waters

Screen Shot 2013-03-27 at 1.09.33 PMNot the flood waters, the prices. 13 Irvine Place is listed today for $2.195 million, after selling for $1.743 in 2010. I’m guessing that they’ll get close to asking price, in this market. I don’t believe Irvine is in either of our two flood zones, but it occurs to me that our Greenwich MLS listing sheets ought to start including flood zone information just as it now includes zoning. If anything, it’s even more critical information than the zone the land sits in.

But speaking of zoning, how is it that this house, built in 1998 when FAR regulations were already in place, is 2,771 sq. feet, not including the finished basement of 1,100? Lot is 0.15 acre, FAR for the R-12 zone is 0.315, so doing the math: 43,560 X 0.15 X 0.315 = 2,058, it seems that 700+ square feet has materialized from thin air. I’m not at all implying that there’s something funny going on here, just confessing that the application of FAR rules leaves me baffled.



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Back again

275 Round Hill Road

275 Round Hill Road

275 Round Hill Road has returned to the market at $5.575 million after a year lying fallow. This is a 1726 house, sort of, last remodelled in 2004. Owners paid $4.7 for it in 1999 and asked $8.4 million in 2008. That didn’t work as expected during the ensuing years that saw five price cuts and almost as many brokers, and it finally expired at the end of 2011 at a price of $5.995. And as noted, now it’s back at $5.575.

Might work – certainly a good location and the house retains much of its beauty, but lovers of old Round Hill Road houses might want to see what’s happening with Walter Noel’s place at 175 Round Hill. It’s rumored to be in the hopper, perhaps because, I was just surprised to learn, that the law suit brought by the town of Fairfield’s pension fund was withdrawn against Walter and his partner Tucker last August 16th. A quiet settlement, perhaps? Whatever’s going on, it seems that the Noels are getting ready to shake the mud off their golf spikes and vamoose.


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Stop me before I shoot again!

Another Mayor Against Guns arrested for drunk and disorderly. Bloomberg’s anti-gun campaign might do better restricting itself to the only people Mayor Mike claims to know who do have guns – his armed bodyguards – rather than recruit mayors worried about their own proclivity for mayhem and violence. Projection is a terrible thing, especially when practiced by politicians with the power to impose their fears onto the rest of us.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns member and Democratic Gainesville, Fla., Mayor Craig Lowe was arrested on charges of driving under the influence and property damage after police found him asleep in his car at the scene of a crash last Thursday.

Police said Lowe appeared intoxicated and his Honda Civic was badly damaged, according to WKMG in Orlando.

“I regret that my actions Thursday morning have disappointed so many friends, supporters, and citizens of Gainesville,” Lowe said in a statement. “I hope that in the future I will again prove worthy of the public’s trust and confidence.”

The Gainesville Democrat faces a mayoral runoff election on April 16. His arraignment is scheduled for April 11, according to the Florida Alligator.

Lowe was one of 30 mayors featured in a recent ad released by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a gun-restriction lobbying group led by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Lowe is the latest member of Mayors Against Illegal Firearms to have a run-in with the law.

Marcus Hook, Pa., Mayor James Schiliro (R.) was arrested for reckless endangerment and other criminal charges last week after he allegedly fired a handgun inside his home during a booze-fueled argument with a 20-year-old man. Schiliro had allegedly served the minor alcohol and demanded sexual favors when the dispute broke out.

Other members and former members of Mayors Against Illegal Guns have previously been charged with felony corruptionassault of a police officer, and child sex crimes.


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It’s not just the English health care fiasco Obama wants to import

Green energy costs soar in the snowbound isle and Obama and his new energy secretary nominee have already promised to impose the same results here, for the same reason: “efficiency”. 

Families will be paying almost £300 a year in green energy taxes by 2020.

The levy will more than double until a quarter of every pound spent on electricity goes on wind, solar, nuclear or home insulation schemes.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey insisted last night that households will be better off thanks to the benefits of electricity-saving initiatives.

But families will be able to claw the money back only if they buy more efficient domestic appliances and boilers.

The average power bill is now £1,267 – with £112 of that going on green taxes, including an £18 wind farm subsidy.

By 2020, green taxes will have risen by more than 150 per cent, ensuring each family contributes £286, according to the Department for Energy and Climate Change.

Connecticut has its own program in place to drive electricity rates up by at least 25% and coupled with Obama’s determination to triple that cost, we’re facing trouble here in the Nutmeg state and throughout the country. The Progressive movement, which is to say the Democrat Party, is determined to force all of us under its rule to follow its dictates: when the Democrats vision of utopia arrives, when factories are closed and unemployment spreads across the land that for them, that’s not a bug, it’s a feature. When everyone is dependent on the central government for survival, the real power will have arrived.


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