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Sandy-Damaged Areas Debate Whether To Raise Their Homes

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TWC News: Sandy-Damaged Areas Debate Whether To Raise Their Homes
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As the recovery from Hurricane Sandy continues, residents in storm-damaged sections of the city face the choice of raising their homes to avoid future storm surges or paying much higher premiums for flood insurance. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.

In the days after Hurricane Sandy, John Clacher's New Dorp Beach home looked like so many others in the flood zone: ripped from its foundation and pushed away from where it once stood.

It was red-tagged by the Department of Buildings and set to be torn down. But Clacher had other ideas.

"The only solution for me, because there was really no real, physical structural damage, was to lift the house up," he said.

Clacher hired a contractor, an engineer and an architect and fought its demolition, coming up with a plan to move the house back to its original footprint and lift it up some eight feet above sea level.

"There was nothing wrong with it," he said. "Why wouldn't you fix it? Why would you knock down a perfectly good house? It's irrational."

A Pennsylvania-based moving and lifting company completed the job in two days. The house now sits on six-by-six stacks of wood, called cribs.

Once the foundation is poured in, the house will be raised even higher, to the 13 feet above sea level recommended in new Federal Emergency Management Agency flood maps.

That work is planned for the next month and a half, along with work to install staircases for the front and side entrances.

"It's a big undertaking," Clacher said. "It involves a lot of machinery and equipment and manpower."

And money. Clacher said it's costing nearly $35,000. Much of it is paid for by flood insurance.

But there's still more work to be done. Clacher owns another home across the street, which was also badly damaged in the storm.

Clacher said he's not sure what he'll do with his second home, though he said lifting it is not out of the question.

His choice will depend on money. Clacher said that if he can't get flood insurance to pay for damage to the second house, he isn't sure he'll be able to afford to lift that one, too.

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