Mr. Steve Hardy,
I read your article this morning (http://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/article_aee36174-de85-11e6-b43b-378a831d9430.html ) and would like to elaborate on a few issues you brought up.
We just came back from SE Louisiana, we discussed all the rebuilding issues and how they inter- relate with each other. Here is a news report of our recent trip and meetings across SE Louisiana – http://www.wbrz.com/videos/stop-fema-group-comes-to-baton-rouge/
One of the related issues we discussed was Substantially Damaged (SD) and the rise of Flood Insurance premiums. Flood Insurance is no longer grandfathered and the subsidies are being “phased out”. Homeowners will be seeing increases of up to 25% compounded yearly increases until they reach their “actuary” rates. SD homes and SRL (Severe Repetitive Loss, rental properties and commercial properties will also see an annual $250 surcharge on their flood premiums)
It seems that when many flooded residents go to their townships, the building inspector asks “Do you want to be SD”. This is not a choice. There is some leeway if you had a couple of feet of water, but if you live in a flood zone, your home is below the bfe and you had more than 5 feet of flood water in your home, YOUR HOME IS SD.
In New York and New Jersey, after Superstorm Sandy the SD threshold for a home on a slab was 2 to 3 feet. These are federal rules and should apply equally to residents no matter where they reside in the U.S.
We have no ‘skin in the game’s either way. We just want to get all the information out to Louisiana Residents so that they can rebuild correctly, cost effectively and quickly. I was issued permits by my township to rebuild my home. Then several months later I was informed my home was substantially damaged. This cost me over a $100,000 additional to raise my home AFTER I renovated the home. If I had all the information right after the storm, it would have been more cost effective to knock the house down and rebuild a new home. Instead I rebuilt my home…. Then 3 years after the storm, I had to take my home apart and raise our home. We do not want the good folks of SE Louisiana to go through this.
FEMA audits everything. FEMA will audit the SD lists. What happens to a homeowner who had 7 feet of water in their house, the town deems them not SD. 3 years later FEMA audits the books and says that house needs to be raised?
There are many more inter-related issues that need to be discussed with SE Louisiana Residents. But for now lets gets this message out to homeowners.
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