So, your house burns down. Mercifully, nobody was home. Only things were lost; no people.
You begin to pick up the pieces and begin to rebuild. You call your insurance company. Everything starts out fine, until they tell you that new FEMA regulations enacted in the wake of Hurricane Katrina affect the requirements for the rebuilding of your home.
Specifically, if you want to rebuild, you’ve got to raise your home to the base flood elevation.
Which, for you, means 20 feet in the air.
Of course, none of the other 35,000 homes in the area stand on stilts. After all, it’s a rather onerous requirement, isn’t it? Best not to inflict it on everyone. Just the people who’ve recently lost their home and all their tangible possessions to natural disaster.
Nancy Ward, Regional Administrator at FEMA, feels bad for you. Really, she does. But she doesn’t have the authority to override the city of Sacramento’s land use decisions.
Ryan DeVore, Chief Building Official in Sacramento would like to provide a variance. Really, he would. But in order to participate in the national flood insurance program and receive aid in the event of a flood, he needs to abide by FEMA’s rules.
Ouch, that’s a bit of a bind, isn’t it? Seems like somebody ought to write a book about that kind of thing.
Don’t worry, says Nancy. Maybe Congress will give the Army Corps of Engineers enough money to fix the levees.
In the meantime, she offers the following wise words of reassurance:
“It doesn’t always work out the way we intended; but we never stop trying.”
Read more and keep up with the story at the Taylors’ Facebook page: Burned OUT in Natomas.