Despite Sandy, Building in Risky Flood Zones Continues Unabated

Report questions how seriously policymakers and officials have taken the threat from climate change. Advocate suggests that decision was made to stay put and ‘live with the risk’

Superstorm Sandy wiped out thousands of homes at the Jersey Shore, but the increasing threat of devastating coastal storms like it has hardly deterred building in areas most at risk of chronic flooding as sea levels rise from climate change, according to a new analysis.

In a pattern repeated nationwide in more than half of coastal states, the number of new homes and reconstructed houses built in flood-prone areas during the last decade outpaced those outside such risk zones. In New Jersey, more than three times as many homes were built in low-lying coastal zones than in safer areas.

The report, jointly done by Climate Central, an independent news site run by scientists and journalists, and by Zillow, an online real estate data company, is likely to rekindle debate over land-use planning and development in coastal areas while raising questions over how seriously policymakers and local officials have taken the threats their communities face from climate change.

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