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To the editor:
There needs to be a barrier island living manual.
Now is the time for hard and wise choices, both individually and with respect to planning and construction codes. To have a home or business damaged or become uninhabitable is devastating on all levels. It creates a sense of trauma that can only be mitigated with time and nurturing. There has been much nurturing since Sandy, thanks to the outpouring of help from everyone and time is time.
And now is the time to really “get it” that we live on a barrier island which needs to be protected if it is to remain safely habitable. We need planning and construction codes that restrict paving, impermeable surfaces, enclosed ground level “bonus rooms,” in-ground swimming pools, building lot coverage and dune encroachment .We need more permeable open space for water absorption as an island-wide policy. Barrier islands are one system. What happens in one area of the island affects the ecosystem balance of the whole island. Paving needs to be restricted to sidewalks and roadways only.
Homes need to be on pilings with ground level open space underneath the first floor to allow for water drainage and flow, rather than creating more water into the already overtaxed drainage infrastructure.
We need to focus on the replenishment and maintenance of our dune system.
And when you are told to evacuate, move your car, batten down the hatches….you do it. It is for your safety.
Mary Louise Hayes