Buy Out or Build Back? A Comparative Assessment of Approaches to Employing Public Funding to Vulnerable Coastal Properties in the Northeastern United States

PI: Porter Hoagland, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, John Duff, UMass - Boston, Di Jin, WHOI, Hauke Kite-Powell, WHOI

Project Number:2014-R/P-NERR-14-1-REG

Start Date:2014-02-01End Date:2016-01-31

Proposal Summary

Investigators will examine various legal and fiscal/economic mechanisms employed by coastal communities in the northeast to formulate and carry out disaster response and mitigation programs. Local responses to flooding and erosion, such as beach nourishment and armoring, will be evaluated for effectiveness, expense, and impacts on surrounding communities. Zoning and other local regulatory authority will be considered, along with evaluations of alternative policies, such as build-backs or buy-outs. Condemnation (eminent domain) principles as well as evolving inverse condemnation (takings) jurisprudence will be assessed. The research team will develop simple models to examine the net benefits of response strategies (e.g., retreat via buy-outs, retreat via zoning changes, shoreline protection). Results will be disseminated through professional journals, web-accessible reports, outreach to local media, and public speaking engagements.

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