October 14, 2019 at 1:24 pm #3064James CrawfordParticipant
En route to the Atlantic Watergate annual meeting this past Saturday I encountered a remarkable sight. The water level of Beach Cove (the bay just west of Tower Shores) was so high it was just a few inches — if that — from covering the Coastal Highway. The entrances to Cove and Dune Roads were submerged in their own ponds; presumably, the drain pipes meant to siphon off water to Beach Cove were doing the opposite — “draining the swamp” in our direction. Most striking, however: Fred Hudson Road was completely underwater at least 4 – 6 inches deep, as far west as the eye could see.
Big rain the night before? Nope, not a drop. The culprit: a Nor’easter off the coast pushed the tidal level higher, per neighbors.
That brought to mind the Great Nor’easter of the Winter of 2016, a near-disastrous event that removed so much sand from our beach that the our crossovers looked like high dive boards, with a drop of 10 feet to the Tower Shores Beach. Fortunately, Mother Nature returned the sand, and Mike Emmitt’s great bulldozer work repaired our beach well ahead of the summer season.
All the same, I couldn’t help but wonder if what I saw Saturday 12 October might be a harbinger of things to come. As we all know, when flood conditions come, Tower Shores is at risk on two sides: from ocean waves to the east, and water from Ocean Cove to our west. That’s ample reason for concern. Scientists on both sides of the “global warming” debate agree on one key fact: whatever the cause, sea levels are rising. Add one other point: Due to tectonic plate action beneath the Atlantic, Delaware is sinking. Are we ready?
In recent discussions it came to light that TSBA’s reserve fund hovers at $140K or thereabouts. Is that sufficient? Time will tell. But the last time I checked, right after the 2016 Nor’easter, the cost of solutions such as “geotubes” — a long plastic pipes filled with sand — were more than double that amount, around $300K. Hopefully, when the next big storm strikes, Mother Nature will be kind to us once again. So much for the beach. What about our homes?
We have many new owners in our community, and if they’re carrying mortgages, they’re likely also required to have two insurance policies: homeowners and flood. We also have an undetermined number of owners whose beach houses have been in their families for decades and carry no bank obligations for insurance, or who have paid the mortgage and own their places outright. Insurance rates, particularly for those homes on the ocean, have skyrocketed. Do we know for a fact whose places are insured, and which belong to owners who’ve decided to forego the heavy expense of insurance?
For a community where the great majority of homes are units that sit side-by-side in large buildings, this is no academic question. If the guy or gal next to you loses his home to fire or flood and the place is uninsured, he or she faces a tough decision: rebuild with his or her own funds — or simply let it go as a 100% loss.
What happens to the value of your own beach home if it sits alongside a burnt-out or flood-demolished unit that the owner declines to rebuild? Even I, hardly a math expert, can figure this one out: The value goes to zilch.
In light of this risk, should TSBA and Atlantic Watergate consider new rules that make homeowners and flood insurance mandatory for all owners? Makes sense to me, and I already follow this common sense rule — We paid off our mortgage years ago, and still carry both types of insurance on our place. And, no, I’m not an insurance salesman.
Given the high cost of beach home insurance today, I have no doubt that the idea of making it mandatory will not be well-received by many. But ask yourselves one last question: What’s cheaper — insurance premiums, or being put in the position of taking a total loss?
October 14, 2019 at 3:04 pm #3066Cynthia SimmonsParticipant
Does anyone know what Sussex County / the State of DE has planned to address climate change for the beach communities? Tower Shores?
October 17, 2019 at 1:52 pm #3078Brad MandelParticipant
Thank you for your concerns for the well being of the community and our home values.
Generally speaking I and many other homeowners want LESS RULES!
However, should the board decide to require proof of insurance it is wise to shop our rates as a group for the best options possible. I learned my neighbor was paying 2,000.00 less than me for flood insurance due to when they assumed the property, deductible and so on…for the same 250,000 max of insurance! I called my broker and requested her to shop my policy and she found another A rated company that reduced my premium by 2,000.00!
October 20, 2019 at 11:47 am #3105James CrawfordParticipant
I hear ya on the “less rules,” but the ones we have in place won’t mean much if we don’t act to safeguard our beach and homes.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.