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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14 responses to “Time to hire Mike Finkbeiner

  1. Wow- Your best post yet (or have I been punk’d?)

    In listening to the public hearing info last evening in Florida (while driving no less), I was reminded that I thanked the P&Z at the 2010 hearing for providing me a Florida retirement plan. Now I return to Greenwich tomorrow for six months to assist coastal property owners to straighten out this mess.

    I pointed out in 2010 is that this is a primary planning tool, and that if you fail to plan (as they say in the business,) then you should plan to fail. So here we are (snack bar two flights up, sorry!)

    The correct answer to many of last night’s questions: Hire a competent surveyor to advise – especially before you buy or plan for major improvements.

    In the coming months I will revise my website (www.EarthImage.net) to provide more illustrations and answers. In the meantime, we have expanded staff and equipment to service client needs.

    In 2010 I was but a single voice crying in the wilderness. Now, thanks to a little help from CF and gals named Irene and Sandy, the impact is more widely felt. The Town is merely reacting after the fact.

    To explain to new readers, my original moniker here, Island Surveyor, was based on postings regarding the now Federal-owned Calf Island in Greenwich Harbor. I was the surveyor whose mapping was used to support an appraisal of 24 house sites for a $6 million appraisal, despite the island being a FEMA wash-over in the VE zone.

    My comments here have always carried the sub-theme that Greenwich Town officials and commissions need to be more conscious of their legal relationships and obligations to State and Federal law and administration (Chime in, FF!)

    We are available to assist with FEMA and Town issues. Contact us at mwf@earthimage.net or 203-661-3897 (tel. goes to transcribed e-mail message with called ID- speak slowly and clearly with detail.)

    With appreciation for your endorsements,
    Mike Finkbeiner
    Licensed Land Surveyor (CT & NY)

  2. Anonymous

    Let’s say, hypothetically, that someone were to send a remote control hovercraft with a GoPro camera mounted on it, in order to take detailed photos/videos of each of the P&Z members’ houses, would you be able to interpret any structural or code violations? Anything specific in the camera specs that you’d need to know in order to understand the scale?

  3. Anonymous

    I had a pal who hired a helicopter and pro photographer to do similar. Cost him a small fortune, which he could afford so cost was besides the point.

    Payback was a bitch–for the planning & zoning folks.

  4. This exercise has been performed already – the violations are known.
    The stock answer is, “Well that’s not before the Commission, so why is it relevant?”

    There is a move before the RTM Land Use Committee to better examine all new candidates for land use appointments, with regard to ethics in this area, and for proven compliance with Federal and State regulations.
    A Sense of the Meeting Resolution is being called for by some, but it doesn’t yet have traction. Even a $1/year boat club lease has tripped up the process.

    Holly Hill, Byram Pool and MISA are the hot topics for next few months.

  5. New Buyer

    I hired a surveyor to confirm the FAR calculations before I purchased in Greenwich. House needed an addition and, without enough extra, unused FAR to do it, the house was worth much less to us (and others). When I questioned the math supporting the FAR, I was expected to rely in good faith on the seller representations and prior, unchecked FAR calculations filed with the town. I got a few raised eyebrows for being overly cautious when I hired a surveyor to double check the calculations. Good news is that calculations were correct within 100 square feet. It was well worth the $500 surveyor’s fee for that peace of mind. Now add a flood survey to the buyer’s “To Do” list.

  6. New Buyer

    Re the drones and helicopter aerial photos, it’s a funny idea but for the opposite reason. I do NOT think the RTM should seek new candidates with a “proven compliance with Federal and State regulations.” The RTM should do the opposite and pick people who inadvertently (or deliberately) VIOLATED absurd, excessive zoning rules. Then regulators might use common sense and compassion when dealing with the rest of us.

  7. Anonymous

    the problem with common sense is it goes out the window with p&z. a bully only knows how to respond to another bully. i say hit ’em once, hit ’em hard. make them realize how stupid they truly are and who they really serve (local taxpayers).

    if someone wants to start a class action, post notice here, i’ll join it and will contribute $.

    • We’re doing it to ourselves. The RTM – that would be your neighbors – has known about the absurdities of FAR, the confiscation of homeowners’ property values, etc. for decades yet it does nothing and leaves the same people in charge. When I was on the RTM in the mid-80s I saw for myself how immune from change it was and I left. Maybe we should get together a competing slate of candidates, each pledged for land use regulation reform, for each district and then go after the sitting members. Failing that, we can just bitch and complain and do nothing, which has been my own course of conduct all these years.
      Probably time to change that.

  8. Anonymous

    maybe invite the journal-news to endorse you?