East Haven, Conn. (WTNH) - Hundreds of homes along the Connecticut shoreline were damaged or destroyed by Tropical Storm Irene in August. It has caused Republicans and Democrats to come together at the State Capitol to call for Shoreline-specific proposals to help home and business owners avoid catastrophic damage in the future.
Developers and real estate agents may not want to hear it, but lawmakers could actually propose not allowing further development too close to the Connecticut shoreline.
On one street on the East Haven shoreline five homes were completely destroyed. When and if they are rebuilt the owners will be forced to rebuild according to new building codes, raised up 14 feet above mean high tide.
"The reality is that rising seas and climate change are not figments of some wacky environmentalists imagination," said Rep. Lonnie Reed.
The August storm was a real wake up call and it was just a tropical storm. If the area is struck by a category 2 hurricane, which some say is likely in the near future, it will be much worse.
If a category 2 storm struck the same area, East Haven would essentially become an island because of the high water.
"The Speaker has charged the task force with addressing the specific and unique needs of shoreline homeowners, business owners and municipalities with regard to rising sea levels," said Rep. James Albis.
The task force will be closely examining the environmental, insurance, development and zoning issues, which could be the most controversial.
Andrew Weinstein, who lost his summer home in the storm, visited the Capitol Monday to speak for shoreline property owners.
"Maybe breakwaters, maybe seawalls," said Weinstein, "there are potential solutions."
"Climate change and rising seas are real, we know that," said Reed, "we've lived through it and instead of being reactive, we need to be proactive."
"There are some potential solutions to slow down erosion," said Weinstein, "even replenishing some of the beaches would be a big help."
Republican State Senator Len Fasano, who represents East Haven, says the task force should not wait to make proposals at the end of this year, and that replenishing some beaches should be done this summer.
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