Comprehensive Coastal Community
Post Hurricane Sandy Flood-Resistant Zoning and Infrastructure Plan for Breezy Point, NY
Breezy Point is a close-knit community with a distinct architectural character. In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy struck the east coast of the United States, and the vernacular tradition, including existing construction practices and zoning by-laws, were placed under question when thousands were left without homes due to flooding, high winds, fire and the disruption of local utilities.
This RESILIENT REBUILDING strategy does not propose a single house design, but rather a framework on which sustainable and energy-independent homes can be built within FEMA flood zones, to respond to both future storms as well as to preserve the existing visual character and pedestrian nature of Breezy Point’s architecture.
Existing responses to storm damage – such as elevating homes and building FEMA-standard homes – do not maintain the pedestrian character of the community, and neglect the opportunities for passive and resilient energy systems. RESILIENT REBUILDING proposes:
· a multi-level elevated walkway system, which creates a clear elevated public realm distinguishing itself from the private residential porches. This creates a storm-resilient public ground plane while maintaining the pedestrian character of the community;
· use of the natural ground plane for vehicular access and storage, while at times of flood allowing for water inundation without endangering life above;
· zoning amendments that support the integration of sustainable design strategies into the existing character, stipulating minimum height requirements and creating distinctions between ground and 1st storey;
· fire safety is also a major consideration, where the new zoning amendments require egress from the 1st storey of a dwelling to an outdoor area with a minimum elevation 13 feet above sea level.
The proposed zoning amendments further attempt to maximize the opportunities for passive strategies by encouraging construction to be made closer to the northern lot line, allowing for homes to better harvest the ample daylight and solar heat via passive means and to approach energy independence – crucial in the event of a major power outage. The loss of yard space is addressed through redefining the allowable overhang of balconies, promoting the open space of a side yard.
In an attempt to redevelop a community of strong pedestrian character, community unity remains at the core of RESILIENT REBUILDING’s zoning amendments and proposal.