Reworking New York’s Flood Map Post-Hurricane Sandy

Mother Jones

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This story first appeared on the ProPublica website.

With warmer weather arriving, long-shuttered train lines reopening and a revamped boardwalk, people are flocking back to the beachfront on the Rockaways in Queens. And they’re not just coming to lie on the sand. They’re here to buy property on the 11-mile-long peninsula ravaged by Superstorm Sandy seven months ago.

“All of a sudden, everyone wants to be here,” said Annette Farina, a broker and owner of Belle Harbor Realty in Rockaway Park, N.Y.

But while Sandy’s water has long receded and the bulldozers have left, a residual effect for homeowners along the city’s coastline still lurks quietly beneath the surface. It comes in the form of a July 2012 law called the Biggert-Waters Act, which will end subsidized rates for property owners who are remapped into more severe flood zones, increasing their flood insurance premiums 20 percent a year until they reach market rates, and will apply those higher rates for newly purchased property.

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Reworking New York’s Flood Map Post-Hurricane Sandy

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