Re: Building in a floodplain
From: John Beutler (
Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2008 18:53:48 -0800 (PST)

Sure, I have an opinion: Why would you want to do that ?

At Liberty Village, in Maryland, our property has a wetland that is flood plain. The wonderful folks at FEMA (the folks who brought you the New Orleans fiasco) have been busy drawing new fantasy 100-year flood lines on local maps that seem to make no sense, but have worried us a bit. When the flood line goes straight up a hill at right angles to contour lines, you have to wonder if they are doing it right ! Most likely the resolution on their maps is insufficient to make fine distinctions...

The closer one builds to a flood plain, the more likely you are to have basements ruled out, and the more likely you are to have to pay flood insurance as a condition of your mortgage. In the good old days, people built in the flood plains of the Potomac River, and every 30-40 years the houses were flooded and ruined - they are still rebuilding them, although the government has made some efforts to buy them out.

Apart from local zoning approval, I don't think a bank is very likely to fund a construction loan for a project that might end up underwater. You just couldn't do it here, or in most places. Flood plains are good locations for parks, or cropland, but not much else. If someone tries to convince you otherwise, run away, rapidly !



 At 02:54 PM 1/24/2008 +0000, Louis-H. Campagna wrote:


Does anyone have ideas, opinions pro/con, advice, experiences, references, etc., about establishing a cohousing development within a floodplain ?

All contributions welcome !

Louis-H. Campagna
Cohabitat Québec (forming)
Québec City, Canada

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John Beutler
Liberty Village, MD
jabeutler [at]

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