Monday, December 4, 2017

"Once a flood plain, always a flood plain"

An excellent article this weekend in the New York Times offers dramatic photo evidence of Hurricane Harvey’s impact on an upscale Houston neighborhood, along with the story of a resident family that were the victims of a common (and apparently legal) practice by developers who truck in soil to raise building lots just above the designated flood area and, thereby, eliminate their obligation to notify buyers of the potential for flood damage. 

These “wet” and “dry” photos (from the article) of the block are telling.  The occupant, a Mrs. Martinez, recalls in the article that “the home builder had assured her that ‘flooding was not even a possibility…’ They would never have bought here otherwise. Flood insurance, of course, was neither required nor needed.”

Mrs. Martinez recounts that, with Harvey’s “rains outside lashing and the water inside rising, the family and their terrified pet, a one-eyed goldendoodle named Coco, took refuge on the second floor. Later that day, rescue boats came and ferried them to safety.”

The lessons in the article are quite worth a read.