This idea has to rank a 10 out of 10 on the kooky scale……would homeowners agree? An excerpt:
It’s expensive to fight the sea. It’s expensive not to do so. When property values plummet, so do property taxes. But right now property values here are still high, and State Sen. Ben Allen wants to put that value to use before it’s gone.
That’s why the 43-year-old Democrat has proposed legislation to create a revolving loan program, allowing California counties and communities to purchase vulnerable coastal properties. The goal would then be to rent those properties out, either to the original homeowner or someone else, and use that money to pay off the loan until the property is no longer safe to live in.
Think of it like a city-run Airbnb, where the profits go to making sure nobody is left picking up the full tab when the Pacific comes to collect.
It’s a strategy that’s never been tried at such a large scale, and its implementation would come with plenty of questions, policy experts say. But there’s hope in various parts of the country that the legislation passes, putting to test a buy-to-rent strategy that could offer a more permanent solution to a growing problem.
At its core, Allen’s proposal is a buyout program — a government-subsidized effort to limit the state’s longer-term exposure to sea level rise.
Within the next 30 years, $8 billion to $10 billion of existing property in California is expected to be underwater, according to the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office. An additional $6 billion to $10 billion will be at risk during high tide.
“The magnitude of the potential impacts mean that the state cannot afford to indefinitely delay taking steps to prepare,” the report warns. “Waiting too long to initiate adaptation efforts likely will make responding effectively more difficult and costly.”
Communities have three options for dealing with that threat: They can defend those properties using sea walls and buffering beaches; they can learn to live with higher waters; or they can retreat and move to higher ground.
The last option is often the least popular, says Julia Stein, a project director at the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at UCLA School of Law.
“That’s just not a conversation that a lot of coastal communities want to have,” she says.
And when the conversation does come up, one of the first questions to arise is cost.
Take Del Mar, a low-lying upscale community north of San Diego. Residents there have been in a years-long fight with the state over the term “managed retreat.” The state wants the city to consider retreating from a particularly vulnerable area. Problem is: The combined market value of the homes in that area is more than $1.5 billion.
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