A reader sent along this Bloomberg Story:
Greenwich Stilt Houses Foreshadow Impact of New FEMA Maps
In the coastal areas of Greenwich, Connecticut, the latest housing craze requires hydraulic jacks, pylons and stilts. One home towers over its neighbors like a cruise ship. Others look like expensive tree houses.
“People are stopping in to ask us about it,” said Patrick Grasso, 59, a resident of the hedge fund enclave who jacked up his 1920s waterfront house about 3 feet (1 meter). “People want to know how long did it take and how much did it cost.”
Ten months after Hurricane Sandy, Greenwich is among the first U.S. municipalities to adopt revised flood maps from theFederal Emergency Management Agency that predict fiercer waves and higher storm surges. In doing so, the town has fallen in line with a federal initiative meant to thin the density of low-lying coastal populations, prepare for more damaging weather and reduce rebuilding costs borne by taxpayers.
The maps add as much as 5 feet to previous predictions of how high the waters of Long Island Sound would rise during a 100-year storm like Sandy. Starting next year, homes in surge areas across the country won’t qualify for flood-insurance rates based on the old maps. That means some homeowners will face a choice between paying as much as $150,000 to raise their houses or accepting premium increases as high as $20,000 a year.