The Patriot Ledger: Sen. Warren visits Marshfield to hear flood insurance woes
Scituate and Marshfield town officials, residents, business owners and real estate experts met with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, at Ventress Memorial Library to share horror stories and grave concerns with the new maps.
By: Jessica Trufant
January 22, 2014
MARSHFIELD - The Marshfield-based nonprofit Road to Responsibility used all but $18,000 of its $25 million budget last year to serve hundreds of developmentally disabled people on the South Shore through housing and programs.
But Road to Responsibility, one of the town's largest employers, could face some serious cuts. Its Ocean Street property now falls in a flood zone on the Federal Emergency Management Agency's new maps, requiring flood coverage that President Chris White said could cost $100,000 a year.
"That's not to mention the four properties we own along Brant Rock," White said Tuesday at a meeting with U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. "I'm really asking for the help, for residents, but also businesses. ... We don't have anything to pay this with."
Scituate and Marshfield town officials, residents, business owners and real estate experts met with Warren at Ventress Memorial Library to share horror stories and grave concerns with the new maps, which expand flood plains and raise water elevations.
Both towns are challenging the proposed maps, as officials say they are riddled with serious errors. Marshfield Town Planner Paul Halkiotis said 40 percent of structures in town would fall in a flood zone.
"Our entire town is scared to death of what will happen to us," Marshfield Selectman Steve Robbins told Warren.
At the same time, the Biggert-Waters Act of 2012 eliminates flood insurance subsidies for homes built before the creation of flood maps, causing premiums to soar. The act started phasing into effect last year, bringing the coastal real estate market to a near standstill.
Warren said she planned to use the anecdotal evidence next week when the U.S. Senate will likely vote on a relief bill that would delay the changes for four years.
"We can't do this to people. We've got to make sure we've got good science, and we've got to make sure we've got the affordability study," she said, praising the towns for their work in fighting the changes. "You guys have done a tremendous job, and I get why this is so important, and it's about the life of this community."