Despite hurricane-related flooding in coastal areas of the city, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said there is no reason to slow down residential waterfront development.
“People like to live in low-lying areas on the beach, it’s attractive,” Mayor Bloomberg said at a press conference this morning, responding to a question from the New York Observer. “People pay more, generally, to be closer to the water, even though you could argue they should pay less because it’s more dangerous. But people are willing to run the risk.”
Hurricane Sandy has caused flooding in Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, including in several areas where the Bloomberg Administration has supported increased residential development, such as Williamsburg. Even the Gowanus Canal overflowed, close to an area that was rezoned several years ago to allow additional development.
Bloomberg added that it wasn’t necessary to make investments in infrastructure in these areas that could help control storm surges. The city cannot build an offshore barrier reef or big bulkheads, he said. “I think we’ve done a lot of preparation in terms of roads, strengthening things,” he said.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn added that the city has indeed done good work to prepare for rising sea levels and climate change.
“In the hurricane planning we’ve done, the coastal planning we’ve done, and the green building codes and the other structural changes, we’ve made significant changes in the requirements of how we build in lower-lying areas and particularly changes to particular projects coming down the pipeline as those conversations were going on,” Quinn said. “We have done what we can do in the confines of our code, and no one has a better, tighter code than we do now.” [NYO] — Zachary Kussin