1,000 Words: The oceanfront property

Maybe it’s time to stop building houses at the beach?

  • Ben Chorn

    See also: floodplains, under cliffs, on fault lines

  • The Resistance

    Not as long as there is money to be made, science to be denied, and sandbags of tax dollars sent by people like me who live in boring houses built on high, dry ground without a view to help them rebuild a more expensive home in the exact same spot.

  • L. Foonimin

    perhaps it is Ok to build them on private property with private funds but it is definitely not Ok to have the government subsidize the cost of insurance to rebuild after a natural disaster … the same goes for homes in the WUI (Wildland Urban Interface) prone to wildfire.

    • The Resistance

      People who build on private property with private funds still need public emergency services when that hurricaine hits and they still need public infrastructure to get to and from that pretty beach front house.

      Unless those people have their own private fire department, utility company, transportation department, and trucks to replace the displaced dunes, etc. that gorgeous view is still being subsidized by you and me.

    • Jeff

      Yes, speaking to subsidies, the National Flood Insurance program is underwater and is propped up by our tax dollars. So in other words people don’t pay the real cost of insurance which would deter more people from building in flood zones. It gets worse with climate change and 100 year floods happening every few years in some places.


      • The Resistance

        I have a secret wish that every tax dollar that goes back to a citizen gets labelled as “welfare”. That way we could all see that not just the stereotypical Reagan welfare queen receives government assistance–so do the majority of Americans–farmers, beach home owners, NY real estate developer/reality TV show personalities, mortgage holders, corporations, public radio, and…me(!) all benefit from government assistance/welfare of some sort or another. Yet, public scorn for welfare recipients is reserved mostly for poor non-white women and children. That scorn seems to fit nicely within the self-made, bootstrap-pulling, narrative that many of us have created for ourselves

        • Jeff

          Yep, don’t forget all the agriculture subsidies, price supports, crop insurance, etc. I guess it’s welfare when it’s not helping out a “job-creating” entity or those family farmers who actually are mostly giant corporations.

          • And the public payout to health insurance companies to “stabilize” premiums in MN, which socializes the risk but privatizes the profit.

          • I thought health insurers operating in MN had to be non-profit?

          • The Resistance

            Not anymore. Dayton and the legislature changed that in 2017. That’s why the Evil Empire that is United Health Care can now make lakes full of money off of sick Minnesotans in their own backyard.

            That said, what Bob’s referring to is that taxpayers reimburse insurance companies for discounts the law requires them to give to low-income people who buy insurance through the exchanges.

            The good news is that now with TrumpCare, we have a fantastic system, everyone is covered, and we can all eat buckets of Sweet Martha’s for breakfast and never worry about obesity and type 2 diabetes. Problem solved.

        • JamieHX

          Caucasian people who get public assistance get plenty of scorn too.

          • The Resistance

            In the town I grew up in the poor white people that are on public assistance somehow still have scorn for the poor non-white people who are on public assistance. But I get your point.

  • Jerry

    Of course, in lots of hurricanes, much of the damage happens well in land when the rivers and streams flood, not on the beach.

  • crystals

    I love the Outer Banks and I’m really going to miss it when it’s gone.

  • Erick

    Three layers of sandbags? I am guessing they just want to be able to claim they made a good faith effort because that will do nothing to stop even a moderate surge.

    • There’s a real art to sandbagging and that picture ain’t it. and there’s the whole plastic thing that appears to be missing.


    • jon


      I don’t know how people can fail to understand what 6 feet of water looks like… but the weather channel decided to show it.

      Basically if the house isn’t designed to have the first floor completely washed away (i.e. on stilts) don’t expect it to be there any more. (and even if it is on stilts those need to contend with the debris in the water… and even if the foundation of the house remains intact there is still the 140 mph winds to contend with, and the debris in the air because of those winds…)

      • I want one of those gray dots that guy was standing on.

        It seems impervious to flooding.

        • jon

          Unfortunately the weather channel is only willing to share video of their advanced weather safety technology…

          Someday maybe we can all have a disk that is impervious to natural disasters…. until we have some solutions we can look into to lessen the impact of these storms…


        • boB from WA

          I was thinking of Moses parting the Red Sea

        • John O.

          It would also be handy in a snowstorm.

          • I wonder if it works in a snowstorm?


          • John O.

            Of course, you don’t need one for Jim Cantore.

  • kevins

    Then there is the cost of refurbishing the beaches so they are all pretty, only to have them wash away on an annual basis…lots of $ washed away also.

  • I’ll forever be conflicted when a storm heads for the New England coast.


    • Al

      Sometimes, this is what I lament the most as a millennial (caveat: We have a home, we have food, we have steady jobs: We have it A LOT better than many, many people). I wish I could just set my kids loose on the oceanfront with them home by dinner. It’s so far beyond what I can fathom as possible, for any number of reasons.

  • AL287

    My oldest brother watched the 20 foot storm surge of Katrina completely engulf his house from the hotel where they usually sheltered during hurricane season in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

    He lived two miles from the beach. They never rebuilt and have just put their 1/2 acre lot on the market. The hike to the coast every month from Louisiana to keep the weeds under control was no longer worth it.

    Someone will buy it be sure of it, likely because they don’t think it will happen to them.