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September 16 - September 23, 2016

FEMA has proposed new rules that require new construction that uses federal money to build at higher elevations, to mitigate flood-related risks. Is this the best way to address potential flood dangers?


FEMA has proposed new rules that require new construction that uses federal money to build at higher elevations, to mitigate flood-related risks. Is this the best way to address potential flood dangers?

Answers Votes
Yes. Flooding is an increasing problem, and new construction needs to take into account more volatile weather. 55%
No. Builders will have to incur greater costs in building to code, resulting in overpriced buildings that don't sell. This will ultimately hurt the regions it purports to be helping. 0%
Building higher is good where possible, but these new regulations sound like they'll cause more headaches than they're worth. 45%


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Comment from Cameron Duncan, (9/19/2016, 9:11 AM)

it would seem reasonable to include a performance-based option, similar to prescriptive v. performance codification. Secondly, the amount of federal funding provided could be rationed based on simulated performance data. Thirdly, I hope the tie-in goes beyond 100-yr events (e.g., 500-yr) as we've had multiple 100-yr events in the last decade.


Comment from Jesse Melton, (9/21/2016, 7:37 AM)

I don't see this as actually directed at construction. It looks to me like something driven by the real estate sector. Higher building sites mean more storm water management. I get to sell not only the higher elevation property, with its now increased value. I get to sell the bottoms, which previously had low value, to the same customer, at a greater price, so they can comply with runoff management regulations. Like with any other Federal regulation somebody is going to be get treated like the hole for a threaded fastener and someone else will benefit at the expense of the screw. By definition, no democratic government can actually give anything to anyone. A government can only take and sometimes it will bestow prizes on those who have served loyally. Everybody wants to be the beneficiary but that's just not how it works. Personally, I just try to minimize my interaction with the whole lot.


Comment from john schultz, (9/21/2016, 9:31 AM)

People who build in flood zones must assume the risk of being in that area. I don't think putting good money after bad is viable policy so, if flooding is a problem, I don't think tax money should be used to build in flood zones where a repeat event is inevitable. If the building design can be addressed with architecture that mitigates flood damage such as building on pilings and elevated platforms that would allow flooding to wash through that might be more acceptable.


Comment from M. Halliwell, (9/22/2016, 10:43 AM)

I understand why the Feds are doing it...but rather than just attach strings to the Federal money, why not work with the municipal and regional governments in flood prone areas to adjust their planning and development protocols to deal with the issue. Otherwise, all you do is give preferential treatment to buildings that receive federal funds (a museum, say) while permitting / forcing others (i.e. residential housing) onto the floodplain in their place.


Comment from Jesse Melton, (9/22/2016, 12:08 PM)

Two reasons I think. - I don't think municipalities at any level are going to cede zoning and planning control to the Feds. Local leaders would be recalled and/or executed when Mr. Big Time Local Businessman couldn't get exceptions made for him. Applaud, or hiss, depending on your view of the ability of monied individuals to drive government. - Long term zoning plans almost never work well enough to justify the cost of planning. It's kind of a joke with developers that whenever a zone for something specific is created the big money is on the opposite side of the town. Everyone is throwing their money at the new zone and the price of real estate plummets on the other side of town. HUD used to have a neat map that illustrated the phenomenon. It all turns into a big mess of behavioral statistics with everyone trying to figure out what the other side knows without the other side knowing they know they don't know anything. The Federal Government is incapable of dealing with that scenario and that scenario is played out every day all over the country.


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