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.