New York making slow progress on resiliency seven years after Hurricane Sandy

Property owners face many challenges; coastal defense project plans are complex and need more time to plan.

July 24, 2019 |

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It’s been seven years since Hurricane Sandy caused extensive flooding in the New York metro region, and progress on resiliency since then has been slow.

One city planning study called “Resilient Neighborhoods” has focused on communities facing unique risks for coastal flooding. This program produced recommendations to harden these neighborhoods in the Bronx in the spring of 2017. It could be the basis of a more extensive initiative to boost resiliency in New York.

But the city has much more to do to defend itself from another storm of Sandy’s magnitude, with individual property owners facing difficult challenges and concepts for regional coastal defense needing more time to plan and implement due to their considerable complexity. Some code changes, such as one that permits a slight increase in building height to create storage lofts to replace basement space vulnerable to flooding, have been enacted. It will take time for owners to take advantage of this option, though.

Residents of a large co-op development, Edgewater Park, have been slow to make renovations after co-op bylaws and city zoning rules were amended to allow structures to be elevated.

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