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Rebuilding After Sandy: Fight Over Foundations

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Five South Shore villages and the Town of Babylon – home to a total of 213,000 peoplehave banned open foundations on elevated homes in certain areas where thousands of residences were damaged in superstorm Sandy.

Esposito has an ally in Heather Horstmann of Lindenhurst. The family, whose home was destroyed by Sandy and had to be completely rebuilt, chose an open foundation — even though the home is set back from the water.

We love the way it looks,” she said, adding that the home was constructed by a dock builder, so she is confident it can withstand a fierce storm.

Ralph Pacifico of Sayville-based Pacifico Engineering said either design works on the Island, though open foundations are more common among homes at the water’s edge.

Both types of foundations are structurally sound, he said, and the cost difference is minimal.

When you look at it, it’s much ado about nothing,” he said of the debate. “If it’s designed and built properly, they should be equal in storm resistance, both open and closed.” Flood insurance costs for both designs are similar, as long as the closed foundation has prop-er flood vents, said Scott Primiano, an insurance advocate and managing partner at Flood Direct, and David W. Clausen, chief executive of Coastal Insurance in Rocky Point.

Costs aside, Oceanside resident Paul Tringali said his home would stand out for all the wrong reasons if it were on an open foundation, looking “ridiculous” in his neighborhood. He was not far enough along with his home’s elevation process when NY Rising made the policy change in December.

As things now stand, that means he will have to pay the remaining 80 percent for his home’s closed foundation — a figure he estimated at $15,000. “My architect and I have been working on my house elevation and closed foundation plans for over a year,” Tringali said. “What I would like to see is the deadline extended to a future date, so that we know in advance what the rules are.”

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