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There were two rather inflammatory articles in major newspapers right after the January 27, 2015 blizzard. One article seemed to advocate for”managed retreat” from the coast and the other for removing people and homes from the coast. These kinds of articles stir up public sentiment against coastal residents, are not well founded in fact, are not based on good town management, and have consistently damaged the property values of the coastal homes involved and the financial well being of their owners. Comments on social media back up that contention. Therefore, we are responding to these articles with these facts.
The National Flood Insurance Program is funded by premiums paid by flood insurance policy holders. Federal law mandates properties with mortgages carry flood insurance. There have been disasters such as Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy when the flood program needed to borrow money from the Federal Government. Borrow means just that. The money will be paid back. The money will be paid back because the premiums policy holders pay are increasing. For some policy holders the premiums are increasing rapidly.
This is part of the National Flood Insurance Program called the Flood Mitigation Program. Over the years, many homes in Scituate have been elevated and are now not prone to flooding. The program works. Marshfield is now investigating the program.
The most coverage an owner can buy on a house is $250,000 through the National Flood Insurance Program and is usually expensive, costing several thousand dollars per year for most policies. There are many things these policies do not cover, including porches and decks.
Waterfront property is generally assessed higher because of its location near the ocean. There are over 2,000 properties either located in a flood zone or close to it. Assuming those 2,000 homes are assessed for $600,000, that totals to $1.2 BILLION. Those properties send to the town treasury almost $16 million EVERY YEAR. If we do not adequately maintain foreshore protection, coastal properties will devalue and Scituate will find itself in a huge financial crisis. Those numbers do not even include the Scituate Harbor and Humarock Business Districts. The burden will fall on inland residents who will be required to make up the significant tax shortfall.
By one estimate it brings $50-70 million into town every summer season. Summer visitors come here for the coastline. Let it deteriorate, and the results will soon be very obvious.
This includes such things as roads, water and sewer lines, gas lines, sewer pumping stations, and community buildings.
If a structure such as the Musquashicut cobble stone barrier fails, flooding in a big storm would reach much further inland than most people realize. People far inland are at risk, not just those along the immediate shore. The failure of that barrier would also cut off all of North Scituate from Gannett Road east and Hatherly road north of the tide gates during large coastal storms. Hundreds of homes would be affected.
The seawalls, revetments, and dunes will still have to be maintained to protect homes and infrastructure. AND certainly Massachusetts or the Federal Government will not pay for the lost tax revenues from those properties torn down.
For the last two years we have met with the Scituate Board of Selectmen and presented our request for a conservative amount of additional funding for foreshore protection repairs. Our request was not supported by the Board of Selectmen or the Advisory Committee. In April 2014 we went to town meeting with a Citizens Article seeking additional funding for additional foreshore protection. It passed because the citizens of this town realized the need. We will be doing the same thing again this year. We hope you will continue to support us.
June 28, 2014
Patriot Ledger Article - Our Opinion:
June 23, 2014
Patriot Ledger Article
April 23, 2014
FEMA Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act Overview
February 4, 2014
June 23, 2014
Patriot Ledger Article
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