Video: FEMA won’t let us rebuild our home

posted at 9:31 pm on January 24, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham

Meet the Taylor family. They bought a house, they paid their mortgage, they purchased proper home insurance. And, when their home burned down, they were ready to mourn and then rebuild.

“It was just a fire. It can all be replaced,” said Brad Taylor.

Not so, as it turns out. Between the time the Taylors bought their home and the time it burned down, FEMA had changed the flood zone designation of their property. To rebuild post-Katrina, the federal government requires they build their home 20 feet in the air, which is 20 feet higher than any other home in their neighborhood, and not paid for by insurance. Local government officials concede it’s a de facto building moratorium that has left the Taylors with a useless house on which they must now pay flood insurance and a mortgage. They’re now forced to go to their federal representative to attempt to get a bill passed by Congress that would allow FEMA to grant variances to families in their position. Stick around to the end of this for one of the least self-aware, scariest federal bureaucrat quotes of all time. It’s worth it.

Remember the pain and expense of this family whenever someone tells you innumerable regulations coming out of giant, overreaching federal agencies are all about helping people, and that to suggest slowing the hell down and reevaluating can come only from a desire to neglect hurting families in their time of need. No normal, law-abiding property owner should have to hope for the passage of a federal law to allow them to rebuild in the wake of a disaster. The Taylors are a hurting family in a time of need, and the federal government is making life immeasurably harder for them.

The Fire Damaged Home Rebuilding Act of 2012, introduced by Rep. Doris Matsui, will never get the amount of attention of an idiotic Assault Weapons Ban that will never pass. Why cover the bills that might fix the problems the federal government has already caused when you can pretend stupid new regulations are going to solve all our problems with no unintended consequences? But for now, this bill is what the Taylors are hoping will allow them to move on with their lives. It should never have been necessary.

Best of luck and prayers for their family.

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OMG! FEMA at work again!

I feel so sorry for this family, they don’t deserve this…

Scrumpy on January 24, 2013 at 9:34 PM

Whats that saying? never let a crisi go to waste?

*phtooey*

Scrumpy on January 24, 2013 at 9:34 PM

Well, I feel safer now. In Seattle.

THANKS, BIG GOVERNMENT!

Jeddite on January 24, 2013 at 9:35 PM

crisi=crisis

Hmmmmmm, Crisi is one!

Crisis is many…lol…

Scrumpy on January 24, 2013 at 9:35 PM

Kinda like mouse mice and meeces…

Scrumpy on January 24, 2013 at 9:36 PM

Crisi, Crisis, Crises…

Scrumpy on January 24, 2013 at 9:37 PM

Sombody stop me!!!

Scrumpy on January 24, 2013 at 9:37 PM

“…build their home 20 feet in the air,…”

This is the same federal govt. that wants to run your healthcare.

locomotivebreath1901 on January 24, 2013 at 9:38 PM

locomotivebreath1901 on January 24, 2013 at 9:38 PM

Oh no, did you HAVE to go there? ;-)

Scrumpy on January 24, 2013 at 9:41 PM

I guess stock will be good for elevator companies..

Electrongod on January 24, 2013 at 9:42 PM

Imagine if it was a Republican president and a black family the outrageously outrageous outrage we would be hearing about this.

astonerii on January 24, 2013 at 9:42 PM

And to think that my neighborhood b!tched at me for my 12 foot diameter satellite dish back in the 80′s..

Just think if I raised my house 20 feet.

Electrongod on January 24, 2013 at 9:44 PM

I wonder if they called it a re-model instead of a re-build if that would make a difference? I have worked with a lot of different jurisdictions in obtaining building permits for individuals and some times it’s just in the wording of your application that makes a world of difference.

multiuseless on January 24, 2013 at 9:46 PM

“Sorry, we changed the rules about your medical condition and now your only option is to be euthanized or…I don’t know…jump off a high cliff or something.”

-BarkyCare government clerk

Bishop on January 24, 2013 at 9:46 PM

I am a former Gulf Coast resident and a responder to Katrina. The answer is hard but simple: No variance unless the taxpayer can be immunized from having to continually pay for private decisions to live in a high-risk areas. And everywhere along the Gulf is high-risk.

Or do we just continue to not learn from our mistakes, and treat these personal choices like our entitlement programs?

M240H on January 24, 2013 at 9:47 PM

20 feet is necessary so those empty busses can float under her house without damage..

Electrongod on January 24, 2013 at 9:48 PM

Earth to FEMA lady – it is the Government’s fault.

gophergirl on January 24, 2013 at 9:50 PM

Electrongod on January 24, 2013 at 9:48 PM

Now it is so clear to me!

KCB on January 24, 2013 at 9:51 PM

Or do we just continue to not learn from our mistakes, and treat these personal choices like our entitlement programs?

M240H on January 24, 2013 at 9:47 PM

I guess the question is when did this area last flood? From listening to the video – they only changed the classification on the levees because of Katrina not because of something that happened here.

gophergirl on January 24, 2013 at 9:52 PM

At the risk of sounding cruel, FEMA shouldn’t let a whole lot of people rebuild their homes. I don’t know what the hell it is going to take to get people to quit building their homes within a stone’s throw of the ocean, but not funding their stupidity is a good start. M240H is absolutely right.

MelonCollie on January 24, 2013 at 9:53 PM

This family happen to be friends with my oldest friend and his wife. We’ve heard this story for many, many months now. It makes absolutely no sense. There are thousands – THOUSANDS – of houses in the exact same neighborhood that were built at the same time. If this family cannot rebuild their home, why are the thousands of other homes allowed to remain in an un-improved condition? If it so unsafe as to deny the family the reasonable use of their property, then why does the Federal Government allow the other homeowners in the neighborhood to remain without protection?

juanito on January 24, 2013 at 9:53 PM

Or do we just continue to not learn from our mistakes, and treat these personal choices like our entitlement programs?

M240H on January 24, 2013 at 9:47 PM

And the levees?

I understand what you are saying..

Just that the ground is dry today because of levees..

Was it a mistake to put up levees?

Electrongod on January 24, 2013 at 9:54 PM

FEMA
@fema

This channel provides FEMA mission-related information. For emergencies, call your local fire/EMS/police or 9-1-1.

United States · http://www.fema.gov/

https://twitter.com/fema

canopfor on January 24, 2013 at 9:55 PM

If it so unsafe as to deny the family the reasonable use of their property, then why does the Federal Government allow the other homeowners in the neighborhood to remain without protection?

juanito on January 24, 2013 at 9:53 PM

They should definitely be allowed to rebuild. If they promise to never ask the tax payer to bail them out. As others have said upthread, I’m sick of subsidizing people who choose to live in gorgeous — but flood prone — areas, and then come to us hat in and when their house gets flooded out.

Timin203 on January 24, 2013 at 9:56 PM

Was it a mistake to put up levees?

Electrongod on January 24, 2013 at 9:54 PM

The mistake is allowing people to build houses that are A in a flood plain and B in an area that regularly gets clobbered by hurricanes. We are not brown peasants who have to throw up shacks to live in anywhere there’s room.

MelonCollie on January 24, 2013 at 9:56 PM

If they were not even required to by flood insurance, how much flood danger is there? I have stayed in cottages on the Outer Banks of north Carolina that are on stilts, but not 20 feet! That is a three story house with one floor you can live on!

KCB on January 24, 2013 at 9:57 PM

20 feet is necessary so those empty busses can float under her house without damage..

Electrongod on January 24, 2013 at 9:48 PM

They aren’t empty, they’re full of Mayor Nagin’s stuff.

Bishop on January 24, 2013 at 9:58 PM

The mistake is allowing people to build houses that are A in a flood plain and B in an area that regularly gets clobbered by hurricanes. We are not brown peasants who have to throw up shacks to live in anywhere there’s room.

MelonCollie on January 24, 2013 at 9:56 PM

The headlines misleading, this house is in California not the Gulf. FEMA changed flood designations all over the country post-Katrina.

Timin203 on January 24, 2013 at 9:58 PM

The Government is really perfecting this whole harm its citizens routine.

Bmore on January 24, 2013 at 9:58 PM

Sounds like a taking under the constitution to me.

Othniel on January 24, 2013 at 9:58 PM

The mistake is allowing people to build houses that are A in a flood plain and B in an area that regularly gets clobbered by hurricanes. We are not brown peasants who have to throw up shacks to live in anywhere there’s room.

MelonCollie on January 24, 2013 at 9:56 PM

But when they bought the house it wasn’t. They didn’t even have to buy flood insurance. They changed the classification after they bought the house.

IMO that’s a different scenario.

gophergirl on January 24, 2013 at 9:59 PM

If Romney was president right now, CNN would be all over this story.

jediwebdude on January 24, 2013 at 9:59 PM

The mistake is allowing people to build houses that are A in a flood plain and B in an area that regularly gets clobbered by hurricanes.

MelonCollie on January 24, 2013 at 9:56 PM

A chocolate city needs some shaking from time-to-time..

:)

Electrongod on January 24, 2013 at 10:01 PM

A chocolate city needs some shaking from time-to-time..

:)

Electrongod on January 24, 2013 at 10:01 PM

Heh. Too bad Detroit and Chicago aren’t subject to massive earthquakes.

MelonCollie on January 24, 2013 at 10:02 PM

Some of you may not be happy with our government when you find out one of the new requirements for selling a home built pre 80′s requires rewiring and new windows. But hey no biggy right cause its the governments business.

Bmore on January 24, 2013 at 10:03 PM

Your first mistake was to think that it was “your” house. You didn’t build that!

RoadRunner on January 24, 2013 at 10:03 PM

Not so, as it turns out. Between the time the Taylors bought their home and the time it burned down, FEMA had changed the flood zone designation of their property.
=============================

Where is the Compassionate All Carrying Obama Administration!

Where are the Lefty Action groups!!

I thought Hopey was going to lower the oceans,….WTF!

Audacious Audacity OutRageNess!!!!!

canopfor on January 24, 2013 at 10:03 PM

“It doesn’t always work out as we intended, but we never stop trying”.

Translation:
We’re paving the the road to Hell!
Unintended consequences be damned.
Forward!

soundingboard on January 24, 2013 at 10:03 PM

FEMA is SCROTCHED

Taylor Family has been BOINKED!!

canopfor on January 24, 2013 at 10:04 PM

KATRINA?!!!

I heard that was all the fault of……I HAAATE mmmBOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH!!!

Mayor Ray Nagin SAID SO!!!

Say – WHERE IS Ray Nagin, right now?

williamg on January 24, 2013 at 10:04 PM

Your first mistake was to think that it was “your” house. You didn’t build that!

RoadRunner on January 24, 2013 at 10:03 PM

That’s right

uncommon sense on January 24, 2013 at 10:05 PM

So in 2008, they made all of these people start paying more for flood insurance, knowing that with the new rules wouldn’t let them rebuild, no matter whether it is fire or flood or anything else? Government….

KCB on January 24, 2013 at 10:07 PM

Some of you may not be happy with our government when you find out one of the new requirements for selling a home built pre 80′s requires rewiring and new windows. But hey no biggy right cause its the governments business.

Bmore on January 24, 2013 at 10:03 PM

And if you play your cards right, not only will Obmama stash pay for this, but you can get a free phone too!

uncommon sense on January 24, 2013 at 10:07 PM

Electrongod on January 24, 2013 at 9:54 PM

The levees exist because the Mississippi is a commercial waterway and it, and the ports, and the adjacent agrarian activity have to be maintained as a matter of Federally taxed commerce, not as a protection for domestic residences. Further, to obtain a residential mortgage in these affected/designated areas, flood insurance is mandated. But you, the taxpayer, still pay when things go very bad, like when the levees at the London Street and Industrial canals are subsumed and the pumps fail, and when Cat 1 “superstorms” afflict parts of the country where consensus is gathered for the opinions of elites.

Is it wrong to attempt to mitigate your losses by imposing constraints on the actual assumers of the risk?

M240H on January 24, 2013 at 10:07 PM

The river area in Sacto is not high risk, I don’t think.

And I hear the people affected by Sandy are also running up against this rebuilding problem.

PattyJ on January 24, 2013 at 10:08 PM

They aren’t empty, they’re full of Mayor Nagin’s stuff.

Bishop on January 24, 2013 at 9:58 PM

Bishop:)

Oh Please,Nagins sh*t,has been seized,pending his court trial outcome!
(sarc)

canopfor on January 24, 2013 at 10:08 PM

Fix
Everything
My
Ass

soundingboard on January 24, 2013 at 10:10 PM

Hmmmmmmm,….2008 eh,I bets it’ll get spinned and pinned on Bush!!!

canopfor on January 24, 2013 at 10:10 PM

And I hear the people affected by Sandy are also running up against this rebuilding problem.

PattyJ on January 24, 2013 at 10:08 PM

I worked in construction rebuilding houses after Hurricane Irene. FEMA wanted houses up on stilts, and limited the reimbursement money if the houses weren’t lifted. The town has zoning regulations against putting houses on stilts.

Long story short, all the homeowners got shafted. Then a year later, Sandy wiped all of those houses out again.

So government backed flood “insurance” is a bad idea on multiple levels.

Timin203 on January 24, 2013 at 10:13 PM

M240H on January 24, 2013 at 10:07 PM

You do realize these people live in CA not in the Gulf?

gophergirl on January 24, 2013 at 10:14 PM

So, is the house next to the ocean? If not, why does FEMA have any jurisdiction over a local building issue?

AZfederalist on January 24, 2013 at 10:14 PM

MeanWhile,we trip off the Sandy………………………..

The Associated Press ‏@AP

#Sandy’s final blow: NJ homeowners must spend tens of thousands to raise homes or pay exorbitant insurance premiums: http://apne.ws
=================================================================

Sandy blow to NJ: costly work or costlier premiums
By WAYNE PARRY
— Jan. 24 8:37 PM EST
**********************

SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J. (AP) — Superstorm Sandy landed one final stunning blow to New Jersey on Thursday as the state adopted rebuilding guidelines that come with sticker shock.

They will force homeowners in flood zones to spend tens of thousands of dollars to raise their houses now or pay exorbitant premiums of up to $31,000 a year for flood insurance later.

Gov. Chris Christie said he adopted flood maps issued late last year by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as New Jersey’s standard for rebuilding from the worst storm in its history. The superstorm destroyed more than 30,000 homes, caused $37 billion in damage and is still keeping 41,000 people out of their damaged homes.

He also said there are “very few places” where New Jerseyans won’t be able to rebuild if the higher buildings standards are used.

Christie, a Republican running for re-election this November and a strong early contender for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, stressed that the guidelines don’t force anyone to raise their homes. But he laid out a stark choice: do the elevations called for under the FEMA maps or pay through the nose for flood insurance each year.

“If you choose not to, you’ll have substantially higher flood insurance costs, which could be … seven or eight times what you pay now,” he said at a news conference in Seaside Heights, where the storm wrecked the boardwalk and pitched a roller coaster into the ocean in one of Sandy’s defining images.

“There’s going to have to be some hard decisions made,” Christie said. “But for the shore as a whole, I think that’s the right decision to make.”

The new rules took effect immediately.

Three months after Sandy hit, many homeowners are still dazed, trying to navigate a maddening maze of insurance companies, government regulations and their own dwindling finances. Most say they have been unable to make crucial decisions on whether and how to rebuild until clear rules were set telling them how high they had to go.

While several expressed gratitude for a clearer road map for the future, the expenses involved staggered some.

Linda Stefanik of Seaside Park is wrestling with whether to raise her business and a house she owns with her sister.

“It’s a lot to take in,” she said. “It’s going to average between $30,000 and $60,000 for everyone who’s going to do it. Seaside Park is not all rich people. If they can’t get some grants, I don’t know if a lot of them will be able to do it.”

Government grants of up to $30,000 are available to help offset the cost of elevating homes. But some homeowners say they need to start work now, which means fronting the money themselves and hoping for reimbursement later. Chuck Appleby of Seaside Park is one of them.

“The cost of raising my house is $60,000,” he said. “It’s easy to say that’s just two years of what you would pay in higher insurance costs, but if you don’t have that kind of money, you’re stuck.”

Appleby has been unemployed since May 2011 when the U.S. Army’s Fort Monmouth closed and transferred its remaining jobs to Maryland. Since then he’s been living on savings, which have rapidly dwindled since the storm as he and his family live in a rental.

And his parents, who live nearby, have no plans to raise their home. He says they’re in for a shock.

“Their entire annual income is about $30,000,” he said. “I don’t know what people like them are going to do.”

Christie said there will be government assistance programs set up with some of the federal storm aid expected to go up for a U.S. Senate vote Monday. He also said a main goal is to make sure the Jersey shore remains affordable.

Yet he said there’s a certain amount of expense and pain that people are going to have to absorb.

“I’m doing the best I can to help folks,” Christie said. “But the government cannot be the guarantor of a good result for everyone. I can’t fix every problem. Any politician who gets behind a mic and tells you they can fix every problem is a liar.”

The advisory maps issued by FEMA in December show the flooding risk is much greater than was projected when the current maps came out in the 1980s. They also expand the area where forceful waves are considered a risk.

Homes that used to be in a less-dangerous zone and are now in the velocity zone considered susceptible to the force of pounding waves could have to pay $31,000 annually in flood insurance costs, the governor said.

But if those same homeowners rebuilt to the higher recommended elevations, their insurance premiums would be about $7,000, and if they chose to go 2 feet higher than the new standard, which varies by location, they would pay about $3,500 a year, Christie said.
===============================================================

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/sandy-blow-nj-costly-work-or-costlier-premiums

canopfor on January 24, 2013 at 10:14 PM

Is it wrong to attempt to mitigate your losses by imposing constraints on the actual assumers of the risk?

M240H on January 24, 2013 at 10:07 PM

To raise your house above the levee..
And all houses and structures above the levee..

Why have a levee?

The levee was placed so that normal construction could take place.

This was proven not to be the case.
Should this family have to pay taxes for that levee that they will be looking down upon?

Electrongod on January 24, 2013 at 10:15 PM

So, is the house next to the ocean? If not, why does FEMA have any jurisdiction over a local building issue?

AZfederalist on January 24, 2013 at 10:14 PM

It looks like it’s the river that is the problem.

gophergirl on January 24, 2013 at 10:17 PM

So, is the house next to the ocean? If not, why does FEMA have any jurisdiction over a local building issue?

AZfederalist on January 24, 2013 at 10:14 PM

I guess mother nature temporarily moved the ocean to New Orleans..

So FEMA’s jurisdiction is fluid..

Electrongod on January 24, 2013 at 10:20 PM

Maybe the could rebuild if their house is detachable and can float..

Electrongod on January 24, 2013 at 10:22 PM

PattyJ on January 24, 2013 at 10:08 PM

Some typical History Channel hype, but…http://youtu.be/_gp62RW6SbA

soundingboard on January 24, 2013 at 10:23 PM

You do realize these people live in CA not in the Gulf?

gophergirl on January 24, 2013 at 10:14 PM

I did not initially, but, even with that knowledge my opinion does not change. Reassessments of flood plains and other risk areas are going to occur- nothing is static in our world.

But I am not unsympathetic to our protagonis here; this should be treated like an eminent domain issue and they should be compensated, but at a partial rate to discourage owner originated damage in efforts to obtain funding for compliant remodels.

M240H on January 24, 2013 at 10:24 PM

Why the hell are the Feds involved at all? People should be free to build as they like, entering any private contract for insurance that they want/can, or (if no mortgage is involved), build at risk. And we, the tax payers, should be free from having to bail out insurance companies and people who improperly allocate their own risk.

besser tot als rot on January 24, 2013 at 10:26 PM

but at a partial rate to discourage owner originated damage in efforts to obtain funding for compliant remodels.

M240H on January 24, 2013 at 10:24 PM

Or, how about stop using the federal government as a flood insurance agency and let people buy / build on their own dime and insure their own houses. If private insurance thinks the houses are too risky, then so should our government. I’m fine with people building wherever they want, but I’m sick of paying to rebuild mega mansions into the side of sand dunes every few years when a storm rolls through.

Enough of having federal taxpayers on the line. It’s absurdly unfair.

Timin203 on January 24, 2013 at 10:27 PM

So, is the house next to the ocean? If not, why does FEMA have any jurisdiction over a local building issue?
AZfederalist on January 24, 2013 at 10:14 PM

It looks like it’s the river that is the problem.
gophergirl on January 24, 2013 at 10:17 PM

I think that the question is how this is a federal issue at all.

besser tot als rot on January 24, 2013 at 10:29 PM

Maybe the could rebuild if their house is detachable and can float..

Electrongod on January 24, 2013 at 10:22 PM

Electrongod:

Brilliant idea,pontoons,or,the hull of a ship maybe!!:)
(sarc)

canopfor on January 24, 2013 at 10:30 PM

This isn’t about someone building in a flood zone. It’s about FEMA arbitrarily moving the boundaries in many cases in error. My brother recently had FEMA tell him he was in a newly created flood zone. He had to pay $600 for a survey and sure enough FEMA made a mistake, but his elderly neighbors who didn’t have the cash get stuck with buying flood insurance. In my city FEMA moved the flood zone to add 97 homes, the city paid for the survey and FEMA backed down.

Here’s the real story, insurance companies make contributions to Obama…FEMA produces new customers for the insurance company.

halfbaked on January 24, 2013 at 10:31 PM

besser tot als rot on January 24, 2013 at 10:26 PM
Timin203 on January 24, 2013 at 10:27 PM

Generally, we aren’t speaking of residences in the particular, but rather in the aggregate that is a commercially essential metropolis. Our country has a need to maintain ports and waterways as drivers in our economy. The people in those residences are part of that enterprise. We must, to a managed extent, maintain them as we do the infrastructure.

M240H on January 24, 2013 at 10:37 PM

So, is the house next to the ocean? If not, why does FEMA have any jurisdiction over a local building issue?

AZfederalist on January 24, 2013 at 10:14 PM

So what if it is next to the ocean? I don’t care if the friggin house is next to a steaming volcano. FEMA has no jurisdiction over my house or my neighbors.

I think that the question is how this is a federal issue at all.

besser tot als rot on January 24, 2013 at 10:29 PM

Bingo. It’s not. This is another clear example of over-reach.

AZ_Redneck on January 24, 2013 at 10:50 PM

This is the same federal govt. that wants to run your healthcare.

locomotivebreath1901 on January 24, 2013 at 9:38 PM

I can see it now…my youtube video 10 years from now…

I use an adjustable walking cane, but the new government issued canes will be all the same size which caused me pain. All other canes made before the new mandate must be turned in. I however resisted and kept my adjustable cane, but I was arrested by agents from “ASSHOLE” (aka American Social Services of Health, Occupation, Life, and Environment) for my continued use of an illegal and unregulated mobility device. Now I am in re-education camp framing pictures of Obama I, Master of the Universe.

William Eaton on January 24, 2013 at 10:51 PM

…who elected FEMA?

KOOLAID2 on January 24, 2013 at 11:12 PM

The mistake is allowing people to build houses that are A in a flood plain and B in an area that regularly gets clobbered by hurricanes. We are not brown peasants who have to throw up shacks to live in anywhere there’s room.

MelonCollie on January 24, 2013 at 9:56 PM

Sorry, you’re in a flood plain/tornado alley/ice storm area/earthquake area/heavy rain advisory/etc area… so we’ll have to have you completely rebuild your home to OUR specifications.

I bet as we keep adding categories we can force 80-90% of the country to rebuild… that’ll stimulate the economy.

I’m with the Government and I’m here to help.

Oh, and if this doesn’t work we can just change the specifications and make you rebuild again.

What a great plan we’ve got here.

gekkobear on January 24, 2013 at 11:16 PM

Do it anyway. Screw ‘em. I’d be the first to volunteer if they were in my area.

Dunedainn on January 24, 2013 at 11:55 PM

Am I the only one who thinks a house 20 feet in the air would be cool?

I understand they’re being mistreated here, but putting the house up at elevation wouldn’t be all that expensive. The stairs would be a pain. But you could have a covered basketball court under your house.

TexasDan on January 25, 2013 at 12:19 AM

Note that this is in California, not Louisiana. Natomas is a bedroom community of Sacramento. About 15 miles from where I live.

It has been really hard hit by the downturn as well.

I don’t understand why it is not seizure, and they get a replacement house paid for by the agency stopping the rebuild.

Snowblind on January 25, 2013 at 12:49 AM

I think a Reagan cliche works, here:

“Hi … I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help.”

listens2glenn on January 25, 2013 at 2:15 AM

If I understand this situation correctly, these people are whining about the government’s rules that have to be followed to be able to get a bailout.
Here’s an idea that no one seems to have thought of:
Fix your own damn house at your own damn expense. Quit sucking the government’s teat – and then whining about the strings that are attached to the money.
And people wonder why we’re circling the bowl. Geez, I hate what our society has become. Parasitism has become the norm.

single stack on January 25, 2013 at 4:21 AM

If I understand this situation correctly, these people are whining about the government’s rules that have to be followed to be able to get a bailout.
Here’s an idea that no one seems to have thought of:
Fix your own damn house at your own damn expense.
single stack on January 25, 2013 at 4:21 AM

Sounds more like they paid their required private insurance which they are now unable to use because FEMA regulations prohibit unless they make their home 20 feet taller. We’ve been living in the same house for 13 years down here in South Florida and, all of a sudden last year, the gov’t decided that our house was no longer in a flood zone so we no longer needed flood insurance. It’s arbitrary and ridiculous, similar to school zones.

ajsleepy on January 25, 2013 at 6:11 AM

I’m a Professional Engineer and Land Surveyor and have to deal with Flood Plain issues where I am employed.

In North Carolina (and this is happened country wide) flood rate insurance maps are being updated. As a result flood plains are being redelineated and while afew areas are being excluded (very few) floodplains and floodways (in essence, where the full current is felt during a flood, but the way that is determined is highly technical)are expanding. If they were in a flood way, they wouldn’t be able rebuild at all.

The Flood Insurance program is handled by FedGov because no private company would do it.

It is worse than a lot of people realize in situations like the victims here face. If the work you are having done to your house amounts to more than half the value of the home, then you must comply with current requirements. Under the older maps this was a problem for many people. With newer mapping, there are locations that find themselves in designated floodplains on smaller streams that had never had delineated floodplains earlier. This is seen in the Mountains of western North Carolina with the maps that went into force in 2010. Some of those maps are wrong, alas. I just a couple weeks ago sent some materials to NCFloodmap showing a problem at one location that is physically impossible based.

FEMA has been buying out properties in flood prone areas for many years. One small town was, in Iowa, I think, was completely relocated about 10 years ago. Other places, homes are being bought and people are relocating and old homes are being torn down. Some business properties are getting the same treatment.

I can’t say, without knowing a lot more, if the victims here should get a variance. FEMA does not like variances, however, but they can be granted. In most cases it is not FEMA that grants the variance,but the local floodplain administrators and the participating communities. FEMA usually delegates compliance audits to the State agency that has been placed in charge of these matters and they certify whether or not a participating community is in substantial compliance.

Being a participating community is important when it comes to flood insurance rates. If your property is not in a participating community, then flood insurance may not even be obtainable, and if it is, it will be highly expensive.

There is much more to this than meets the eye. But, I certainly agree with those that say that FedGov does not have the constitutional authority to set up and run a flood insurance program. But, as we well know, FedGov is utterly lawless and couldn’t care less about the law.

Quartermaster on January 25, 2013 at 6:57 AM

Oh, and if this doesn’t work we can just change the specifications and make you rebuild again.

What a great plan we’ve got here.

gekkobear on January 24, 2013 at 11:16 PM

Oh, is that an (R) I see next to your name here? No house for you!

ROCnPhilly on January 25, 2013 at 7:06 AM

The core right of citizens is to be left alone by government. Hey asshats! Leave us alone! Go away!

MTF on January 25, 2013 at 7:18 AM

Make sure you keep voting Democrat.

Wait until your “seperate but equal” obamacare kicks in on 1/1/14 and you realize that you are one of 60 million working stiffs waiting for a public exchange while the ruling elite and unions go to the best medical facilities in the world. Of course these are the same facilities you used to be able to access but them obama and the government stepped in to “help you”.

Can’t wait to they get the GUM store built in DC and only the best of the best ruling elite will be able to go to it.

acyl72 on January 25, 2013 at 7:33 AM

Having lived in the Central Valley, a couple notes about Natomas. First off all, it sucks. It’s very poor, with high crime. Remember seeing it on the eveneing news, A LOT. I’d walk away if it was me. Second, every time we had a good rain storm, it was “OMG, if that levee breaks, Natomas is gone!!11!!11″ NEVER even remotely came close to happening. Natomas was the apocolyptic worse case scenario they used for ratings. Pretty sure it would take biblical levels of water to wipe out this area. FEMA is just trying to make $$ off higher flood insurance premiums.

Russell28 on January 25, 2013 at 7:40 AM

Play with the bull, get the horns.

Mr. Arrogant on January 25, 2013 at 7:57 AM

All of you castigating the family for building in a flood plane are off base. The house was not in a flood plane when they bought it in good faith based on the rules in place at the time.

They are now being victimized by a government that arbitrarily changed the rules without any concern for the impact on the people in the area. With the stroke of a bureaucrat’s pen the federal government effectively took their home but did not absolve them from having to continue paying for it.

As has been said before, a government big enough to give you everything you want can also take from you everything that you have and, with Obamacare, that will include taking your life.

Nomas on January 25, 2013 at 8:19 AM

M240H

The 2 main points.

The government is forcing them to buy flood insurance.
The owners would like to rebuild (even raise the house 20 feet), but they can’t spend over $30k on their house, because the government is restricting how much they can spend on rebuilding.

To repeat, the government is forcing them to buy insurance, but preventing them from actually using the insurance to rebuild their house in order to meet government restrictions.

I agree that people should be able to build where ever they please, as long as they pay for the cost of rebuilding their homes (either through insurance or their own pocket) and not the general tax payer.

LoganSix on January 25, 2013 at 8:30 AM

Why is the Federal Government dictating local law here? Seems to me that all of New Orleans got a variance — so why not these people?

unclesmrgol on January 25, 2013 at 8:59 AM

Honestly, this isn’t FEMA’s fault. Flood plains and designations change all the time. Insurance brokers are made aware of changes because when they are selling homeowner’s insurance, the need for flood insurance must be addressed.

The fault lies with the Taylors or their insurance agent for not having the proper homeowner’s insurance. Here’s why: The reason they have to rebuild in a certain way is they will not receive a construction permit for the fire damage unless they have the building brought up to current code, regardless if the code work is to parts of the building that are not damaged.

For example, if you have a fire in the kitchen that results in the kitchen electrical needed to be rewired, but have old, aluminum wiring, the bldg code may require the whole house rewired to be brought up to current electrical code. The rest of the house isn’t damaged, but you have to pay for that work in order to get the kitchen repaired. A standard Homeowners policy without endorsements would not cover the work to the rest of the house where there isn’t any fire damage.

There are optional endorsements you can purchase to add to your HO policy, for an additional premium, that will pay for cost due to compliance to building codes.

I think the case was either the broker didn’t offer the endorsement or the Taylors refused it due to additional premium.

Our home was built in the 80s. Hurricane Wilma damages were about $70,0000. Of that, $10,000 wasn’t for wind or physical damage, it was work to bring the house and roof up to code. I had this endorsement.

LadyGator88 on January 25, 2013 at 9:12 AM

“It doesn’t always work out the way we intended, but we never stop trying”. – FEMA RA

That is one of those doozies, that sounds good, until you think about. It is like our unofficial motto at work: “We’re not happy until you’re not happy!”

Haiku Guy on January 25, 2013 at 9:19 AM

“It doesn’t always work out the way we intended.. but we never stop trying.”

I also liked the quotes FEMA Fascist lady said about half way through… something like.. the city normally could provide a variance, but there again, they are caught by “our guidance.”

Talking like this… she knows exactly what she is saying and doing. And she is enjoying every minute of the raw power she has to destroy people’s lives.

And if this is not stopped… it will get worse and worse. It has to. It’s the law of nature.

JellyToast on January 25, 2013 at 9:21 AM

“It doesn’t always work out the way we intended.. but we never stop trying.”

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE stop trying – we do not need or want your help.

What were Reagan’s 8 most dreaded words? “We’re from the government, and we’re here to help.”

The Taylors have been helped almost to death.

jclittlep on January 25, 2013 at 9:56 AM

No normal, law-abiding property owner should have to hope for the passage of a federal law to allow them to rebuild in the wake of a disaster.

Correct version:

No normal, law-abiding property owner should have to worry about a federal law to allow them to build.

GWB on January 25, 2013 at 9:59 AM

The reason they have to rebuild in a certain way is they will not receive a construction permit for the fire damage unless they have the building brought up to current code, regardless if the code work is to parts of the building that are not damaged.

LadyGator88 on January 25, 2013 at 9:12 AM

And that is tyranny. As important as building code is in some ways, it is often the first imposition of tyranny on most free individuals. And, a classic method of regulating (instead of legislating) away your freedom.

GWB on January 25, 2013 at 10:09 AM

My brother recently had FEMA tell him he was in a newly created flood zone. He had to pay $600 for a survey and sure enough FEMA made a mistake, but his elderly neighbors who didn’t have the cash get stuck with buying flood insurance.
halfbaked on January 24, 2013 at 10:31 PM

That’s not such a bad thing. My brother bought a home that was shown to have its floor elevation 4 feet above the 100-year flood level. He wanted to buy flood insurance anyway – its very inexpensive – but was denied. Lo and behold, one year later he had 4 feet of water INSIDE his home and a FEMA check for – $26,000. Everything he had worked for was gone.

Also, flood elevations don’t just get changed 20+ feet at one time. A finished floor of a new home has to be just a couple of feet above the 100-year flood plain to get a permit, and an existing home may be rebuilt if under the flood plain depending on the extent of the damage. So the home must have been built more than 10 or so feet below the flood plain to begin with to now be required to be elevated 20 feet from its existing spot! That means FEMA expects the flood plain to be about 18 feet higher than the current finished floor level. There’s absolutely no sense in rebuilding if that is actually the case, as 18 feet of water will destroy any home.

Of course, FEMA could be off by 20 feet. I designed a building on a river whose official flood map showed the flood elevation 15 feet higher on the north side of the river than the south side.

shuzilla on January 25, 2013 at 10:15 AM

I am a registered land surveyor in 3 states and have done countless flood certification letters. Quartermaster is pretty much dead right. I live in Naples Fl and it’s nothing short of miracle to even find an insurance company that will offer flood insurance that is cheaper than your house payment.

SnakeHips on January 25, 2013 at 10:17 AM

Government agencies are created for Marxism to flourish without accountability.

There is nothing a government agency can do that congress can’t do… except that congress can be held accountable if they do it. A faceless nameless bureaucrat is like a dictator in a fortress. Untouchable be even congress.

The next step is to make government agencies able to write their own budgets and take whatever money they want without interference from congress.

Once that is accomplished… there will be no need for a congress. They will be powerless to stop any agency from making any rule or law they want to. Lead by a Marxist President… the nation’s fate will be sealed.

JellyToast on January 25, 2013 at 11:36 AM

I am a former Gulf Coast resident and a responder to Katrina. The answer is hard but simple: No variance unless the taxpayer can be immunized from having to continually pay for private decisions to live in a high-risk areas. And everywhere along the Gulf is high-risk.

Or do we just continue to not learn from our mistakes, and treat these personal choices like our entitlement programs?

M240H on January 24, 2013 at 9:47 PM

Dude, did you not hear him say that the Corps of Civil Engineers had just certified the levees for 100 years prior to their purchase? That means they thought in good faith that they were not in a high risk area like, say, the FRICKIN’ OCEAN shoreline?

Big John on January 25, 2013 at 11:55 AM

Hummmm…. so they can’t REBUILD??….why not REPLACE… move another home onto the lot?

roflmmfao

donabernathy on January 26, 2013 at 1:29 PM