FEMA’s Map Flawed
(The following letter was presented to the Ocean City Mayor and Council last month.)
I am writing to ask your helpful input to FEMA on behalf of all the owners of the units of White Sands Village (occupying the oceanfront blocks of 143rd to 145th streets.). Over 25 years ago, the state legislatures north and south of the Mason Dixon line held greatly differing opinions over the issue of beach replenishment to minimize losses incurred by storm flooding. At that time only the Maryland legislature and Governor Schaefer had the foresight to secure our beach. When the first stage of the project was completed, the level of the beach here was 12-18 inches higher than the adjacent Fenwick beach. The northern blocks of Maryland here for the last 25 years were constantly under the gun of northeastern water and winds.
Now, after the major devastating storms of the past years, Delaware has made the major jump of responsible beach awareness. However anyone can look at the most recent aerial photos of the dune and see the resulting damage of winter Nor-easters. This area is the most easterly point of Delmarva. What is not clear on aerial photos is the elevation of Wight St. and the existing dune in front. Wight St is 5-6 feet higher in elevation than sections of Ocean Highway which are not in the “shaded area” of the new FEMA map.
The original design of White Sands Village included the concrete pier foundation built to withstand annual tidal surges and it did that, just as advertised, over several winters in the first 20 years of their existence prior to the dune project. As for the mandatory insurance, no claims were ever paid on at our unit because no insurance would cover that which would become damaged on the first floor. We have paid for flood insurance knowing we would never benefit from it.
When Irene hit Ocean City the dune out front still did its job even in its current “questionable” state. There was no damage to ocean side units from the sea but from the tidal surge in the bay where properties were under several feet of water. Ocean City should be proud of its dune and the security it has provided. I feel there are opportunities for improvement in the logistics of storm cleanup. Case in point after late summer/fall hurricanes over the last 24 years the dune has been in place we don’t put dune fencing up until the following spring and we lose an entire winter season of natural wind forces we can harness to slow the advancing sands from the north and keep the sand in place. Double rows of fences are very efficient and can build up 3-4 feet of sand in just over a month (I witnessed this last September and October). By the end of this summer, both sides of the state line will have beach replenishment at peak performance and the resulting aerial view will be altered for the better.
The city and state have done a great deal for storm loss prevention over the years that many other states have not. I feel that FEMA by blanketing any part of the city into a more extreme category of flood insurance is simply wrong. Is the resident in a mobile home who puts his/her unit up on blocks or pilings to avoid flooding “blanketed” by a map change?
Please do what you can to help FEMA re-evaluate the most recent map and level the playing field. Thank you for your help in this matter.
Mark Z. Hauswald
Thankful For Service
Did you know that on Saturday morning, 50 people met on the Boardwalk at Somerset Street for prayer? They bowed their heads and asked our Lord to bless the beginning of the 2014 summer season at Ocean City.
They were represented by the Ocean City Police Department, two pastors, the Ocean City Fire Department, volunteer chaplain and the Ocean City Beach Patrol.
They thanked God for the beautiful beach, the sunshine and the pleasant weather.
God bless our police, firemen and beach patrol and keep them safe.
I’m glad to know that these people care enough to ask for God’s blessings on our Ocean City beach this summer and their dedication to keeping our families and children safe.
Will you remember to thank them?