The rebuilding of shore-front towns in New Jersey inherently raises a fair amount of debate. Decisions must be carefully weighed to determine if the costs to rebuild offer a financially solvent solution, which options are most cost-effective in offering the most protection from similar future disasters, as well as the general consensus from the residents of the area regarding those options. These are difficult topics that Mayor William Akers must address. Akers is reluctant to approve the plan put forth by the Army Corps. of Engineers due to the likelihood it will decrease revenue for his town of Seaside Heights, New Jersey. Several other seaside mayors undoubtedly feel similarly; installing sand dunes 18-22 feet high would mar the views many tourists seek out. Mayor Akers is not wholly opposed to the plan, but reasonably desires alternatives be explored first. In rebuilding, the boardwalk’s structure and materials have been heavily improved to be more structurally sound than it was prior to Hurricane Sandy’s destruction (Bernstein 2013). In Florida, dunes are often installed to repair the damage and erosion that hurricanes wreak. This is often welcomed by beachside residents due to the necessity for the repair and residents have seldom opposed dune creation/maintenance (Barnes 2013).
As head of the N.J. State Reconstruction Commission, I would feel obligated to approve a dune creation project as that seems to be the best solution for protecting the area (Bernstein 2013). I would also mandate that building sight locations be a minimum of 25 feet set-back from the ocean. Residential and commercial buildings should be elevated upon pilings to lessen damage from the inevitable flooding that occurs annually. Additionally, several other criteria would also need to be implemented for preventative measures. Among these criteria, breakaway exterior walls and hurricane-proof windows would be mandated (Kaysen 2014). By implementing these measures, damage from future hurricanes and/or flooding would be mitigated.
- Barnes, R. (2009, November 24). Landowners along Florida beaches ask Supreme Court to examine taking of private property. The Washington Post. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/23/AR2009112303930.html
- Bernstein, L. (2013, April 6). Much a-dune about Jersey shore protection project. The Washington Post. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/much-a-dune-about-jersey-shore-protection-project/2013/04/06/df80a9f6-9d64-11e2-9a79-eb5280c81c63_story.html
- Kaysen, R. (2014, April 4). Back to the Jersey Shore. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/06/realestate/back-to-the-jersey-shore.html