The Staten Island Advance editorial page tells an important truth: “Don’t rebuild beach communities.” “That’s why government has to step in and control residential construction along the beaches before the rebuilding gets to far along. Yes, this is America and, as one Island politician put it, people should be allowed to take risks. But those who bristle at government telling people where and how they can build also want government to rescue those same risk-taking people from storm surges (and risk first responders’ lives in the process). They also want government to help make those risk-takers’ whole again after they’re wiped out. People don’t take such risks entirely on their own dime, after all. It is time for government to step in and say “enough.” There should be no new building or major home repair in severely affected areas of Staten Island’s Zone A until a serious and thoughtful study is done. That study must ask the basic question: Should building as we see it today be allowed there again? Should vast areas be condemned through eminent domain and made part of a massive Bluebelt system to control water? Should construction be forced above sea level, with no basement space and all critical controls — heat, electric, above sea level — as is the practice in other flood-prone parts of the country?”
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