Snapshot: Here we go again...strong storm shows we have put houses where they shouldn't be but also shows how much money is at stake and what's aligned against Smart Coastal decisions.
BACKSTORY: The houses being washed away in the photo above (courtesy of Ralph Karl Swenson) are in a place named Peggotty Beach outside of Scituate, MA. The March 2018 nor-easter slammed this area and flooded this sand spit. The second image in the gallery is an overhead view that shows how precariously these houses are placed - on a sand spit between tidal marshes and the open ocean. So when the nor'easter hit, the spit was overwashed, filling the marshes behind the houses which are draining back into the ocean in the first picture .
See that nice house in the center of the first picture? The last picture is the ad for the house on a rental website. The house goes for $9.650/week in season and comes with a housemaker. That's a nice setup that would be hard to walk away from and expensive for government to buy out.
The reality is these houses will sit there until they get knocked down and even then it might not be over. Six flooded rentals in Nags Head were allowed to stay for over four years, through court cases, until the city bought them out. As long as the owner can get nearly $10,000 a week in rental fees, it will be hard to tell people to not build in dangerous places.