During the rules committee hearings Councilman Kenney suggested that if building in the floodway were wrong developers wouldn't be able to get financing.
It's nice to think that banks will make the right decision when it comes to making loans in hazardous areas such as the floodway of Venice Island in the Manayunk section of our city. If this were the case, it would not have been necessary for Congress to pass the National Flood Insurance Reform Act in 1994 to force lending institutions to require flood insurance coverage on properties within 100-year or regulatory floodplains.
The National Flood Insurance Program (established by the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968) was the focus of the Flood Disaster Protection Act (1973), allows federally related loans ONLY on properly insured properties within flood prone areas. Properties not covered by insurance not only are not covered for flood losses (homeowners' policies exclude flood losses), but also are denied federal disaster grants or assistance to help flood victims recover.
Many lenders did not enforce this flood insurance mandate, preferring to make loans and take the risk that no floods would occur while they were holding the mortgages rather than take the risk of losing business from potential borrowers who would decide against buying properties that would incur the extra annual expense of flood insurance premiums. It has only been since the National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 1994 that lenders have been subject to substantial enough penalties that they no longer can waive flood insurance purchase for properties in flood prone areas.
If it takes an act of Congress to force banks to ensure that properties securing loans are covered by flood insurance, it should be clear that economic factors (income from interest) weigh more heavily than safety and common sense when it comes to lending decisions in flood prone areas.
So now the buck has been passed to the insurance companies and there is no reason to think them any more honorable than the banks.
Council should not pass the buck in protecting our residents and businesses, but protect us as they were elected to do, and not rely on others to cover their mistakes.
It is wrong to build residential in the floodway!
The banks won't do the right thing!
The insurance companies won't do the right thing!
Will City Council do the right thing?
A straw man argument is when one party in a debate raises a foolish point then proceeds to argue against it, implying that they are arguing against their opponent.
Straw man one
Several times during the hearing it was argued that the bill would not change or weaken the laws against building in the floodway.
So... We didn't say they would. We used the law and facts about how floods happen and what they can do to prove that residential is a terrible idea.
We do like the implication that these regulations are important, necessary, and protected.
Straw man two
Several times during the hearing we were told these developments would not raise the 100 year flood level.
If they did, they would be flat out, incontrovertibly illegal and we wouldn't be here. We know that. They know that.
Straw man three
With G-2 industrial zoning "they" could do anything from running a slaughter house to building military weapons.
First, if they believe their own argument that no industry will ever want to use the island, than what's their point. You can't have it both ways.
Second, ordinance 14-1606 "Flood Plain Controls" sets very strict guidelines on what can be done in a floodway. In particular, section (5)(a)(.3) sharply limits the amounts of various harmful substances that can be stored. Most importantly "and no variances shall be granted by the Zoning Board of Adjustment". The gist of all that is none of those horrible worst case industries would have a ghost of a chance of operating in a floodway. They know that. We know that.
Straw man four
Everybody says it's ok to build in the floodplain if you follow the regulations.
THIS IS A FLOODWAY not a floodplain! The sites will be IN THE RIVER during a flood. The sites will be COVERED WITH 12 FEET OF FAST MOVING WATER CARRYING TREES TRUCKS AND WHO KNOWS WHAT AT 30 MILES PER HOUR.
The driveways and parking lots will be in the river. Maximizing the danger that people trying to rescue their vehicles and property will be swept away.
City regulations (14-1606 (5)(b)) specifically allows residential OUTSIDE THE FLOODWAY. They know that. We know that.