Reasoning is Shortsighted

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To The Editor:
I was startled to read Dick Sanford’s editorial opposing a buyout of flood prone properties in Margaretville or Fleischmanns. His reasoning is shortsighted and very selfish.
As everyone around here knows we’ve had more than our share of major floods over the past 20 years – 1996, 2005 and then Irene in 2011. Three 100-year flood events within a 15-year period. The floods are getting worse and they seem to happen more often. And a “flood plain” is exactly what it sounds like – an area for excess floodwater to go, whether there is a building there or not.
Dick Sanford is proposing a public policy of forcing people to keep homes that have lost value and will be very hard to sell because of their susceptibility to flooding. He would rather that those owners and taxpayers (through FEMA and federal flood insurance) foot the bill the next time these homes are flooded – and there will be a next time, we just don’t know when.
I had a lot of damage from Irene, but I do not want to sell. I like my house and am willing to roll the dice. But many others might feel differently and why shouldn’t they have the opportunity to take advantage of a buyout that saves everyone money? Those who would chose a buyout because they live in a flood plain won’t have to be rescued, lose all of their belongings, live in temporary housing for months (or longer) and then have to go through it again at a later date when the next flood hits.
Dick Sanford’s rationale is that even if 10 families in our areas were to take the buyout their leaving would be “devastating.” I think it is much more devastating if these 10 families were flooded out of their homes and had no place to go. This is not how it should be. The Floodplain Buyout Program makes a lot of sense, and it is up to the residents to decide if it is right for them, not Dick Sanford.
Peter J. Marx, Margaretville