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Is it worth rebuilding?

6814 Views 65 Replies 33 Participants Last post by  Jolly Roger
Sitting on the deck last night with the neighbors, drinking beer and discussing the weeks events when the question came up about rebuilding on Bolivar. Since we do not have a property interest in the area, we could not agree on an answer to the question.

It appears a good portion of the area has been washed away and could be in more danger than it is now.

Based on the pictures and the destruction do any of you who have property in the area feel like its worth rebuilding?

Please do not let this thread degenerate into a name calling situation, just keep it an open and honest discussion on your thoughts about rebuilding or not.
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i have a strong feeling that bolivar, crystal beach and the gilchrist area will come back ... eventually.
I think this will give the GLO the opportunity to put in effect the act that will take land 60 times the annual erosion rate which will then claim much of the beach front property. They will allow residents to build back but I think it will be atleast 5 years before it is any kind of vacation community. In 1 year power should be restored to the remaining properties and to the essential businesses and local city infrastructure. I think it will be a long road to rebuild houses because they will probably put into effect some very strict building codes and it will be cost prohibitive to build back. Also, I think most of the structures remaining down there (our house included) will have to be torn down and rebuilt in order to be insured or heavily modified to meet new codes.

They really need to be more strict on code for older homes (our house included) because what this storm has shown us is that your neighbors crumby falling apart house can domino into your 2008 built to code house and wipe it out. Also I foresee them being more strict on the ground floor dwellings that we all got away with for so long.

I feel like the real estate market is going to be bustling with activity in the next 1-2 years and the market will be saturated with undervalued property. We might even see a large investment corp move in and build a skyscraper condo or small condos because the land will be so cheap. Whereas a beachfront lot had a market price of about $250k I think the new price will be around $80k.

Also, I hope the fill in Rollover and all the other new cuts on the peninsula. This does nothing but erode the beaches to the west of Rollover and we need to make every concerted effort to stop the erosion... even if it costs the general public one less fishing spot it will be potentially saving precious coastal property.

...Then again they might just condemn the peninsula, turn it into a bird sanctuary and allow the lion to free roam.
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Port Bolivar, Caplen, Gilcrist and HI all have weathered a lot of storms and recovered. Crystal Beach is much newer but regardless of current condition, still has an overriding asset that lends itself to new development: private property.

All of that wasteland, parcel by parcel, belongs to somebody and has value. It had value in the 60's when new (I bought my first lot for $500 I think) and still has it today. Some of the lots will probably change hands a lot while others rebuild. How the area redevelops may be a lot different from today...may be shacks or may be mansions.

Seems to me that changing costs of financing, insurance, taxes and fuel are going to divide the redevelopment into three groups: Those with enough assets that it doesn't matter. Those that will be willing to self insure with a very modest investment (shack/camp) and the endangered group: those squeezed in the middle that will be dealing with climbing costs of taxes, insurance, gasoline, etc. to keep their second or retirement homes. A fourth group, investors, will need to recalculate after this too. The numbers are changing, but the area will rebuild after a while....just may look a little different.
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I intend to repair/rebuild in Port Bolivar. I just wish they would let me get over there to assess,clean up and weatherproof what I have left. The satalite photos show that it is still standing and appears to be intact. I have not seen my house on any of the news videos, houses that made it are not news, only the debris piles and slabs with posts get all the attention. What was worth $80 -$100k before Ike is probably worth $10k today. I'm just gonna keep it, fix it, and hand it down to the kids. So much for that part of my retirement plan...The good part of this is maybe the party animals will find another place to raise hell, and the peninsula will revert back to the quiet, friendly place it was 20 years ago when I first invested down there. Don't take this in the wrong way, I still like to party with the best of them, I just feel things were getting a litte too out of control at times on the beaches and some other places. Traffic had become a real issue on the weekends (3+ hours waiting for the ferry on sunday) I used to be able to leave my beach house at 3:00 sunday afternoon and have no more than a 1 hour wait, now I have to leave by 9:00am to beat most of the crowd and not sit in that stinking line. There will be some good that comes out of all this devistation. My thoughts and prayers go out to all my friends, neighbors and people I didn't know that suffered losses from this terrible storm. All of Bolivar will come back better than ever, and we all still have the wonderfull memories of the great times with family and friends on our little piece of paridise. The recovery will be slow, but there are more good times ahead and more memories to make.
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I agree with Fishtexx:

"There will be some good that comes out of all this devistation. "

When the great Texas recession of the 80's came, I like most younger ones hated to see the boom leave us and looked for livilihood elsewhere. After awhile, I decided I'd rather starve in Texas than put up with all the yankee **** in the other boom towns in NC, NV and FL.

I came home to my very friendly hometown with low real estate prices, friendly people and a slower way of life...Thats all changed now and greater Houston has become the monster that it was in the early 80s again.

I'm hoping that Boliver, Crystal Beach, Gilcrist, Surfside, Oak Island, Smith Point and all the rest become what they ought to be...a refuge from the big city hustle that we all want to get away from.

I've fished those areas for more years than I care to remember, and know that their day will come again.

"There will be some good that comes out of all this devistation."


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I am still undecided on building again or just keep the 4 lots and use them as a place to park a travel trailer. Might even sell a couple of the lots. But the price will have to be right. Taxes might change a little too so Galveston don't go broke.
I have a two lots (now) on bolivar and have not decided on rebuilding. Waiting to see how the insurance company treats me.

But, food for thought, I know that rollover pass is a very popular place for bank fishing, but maybe this is a time to consider filling it in to let nature rebuild what it can of the pennisula. Sorry if this starts a fire fight.

Like I said, just something to think about.

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first off, my heart goes out to those who lost everything on bolivar pen and elsewhere.

our place is on the bay side and is still standing. the boat is out of the sling and under a couple of tons of debris and there are rv's in our canal. we were blessed in that our house is still standing. fortunately for us, rebuilding isn't something we have to think about.

in my mind, bolivar will rebuild better than ever. one of the problems before ike came along was that most of the privately held property was very expensive. i think now that land prices will be reduced - and they will - we'll see the peninsula spring back to life, albeit with strict building codes and high insurance costs. like someone else said, i expect to see condos and the like built there and the town incorporated (again).

all in all, me and mine will do what we can to help rebuild crystal beach, including buying locally when possible. if we need lumber, we need to buy from seaside or parker. if we need groceries, and gulf coast market rebuilds, we should purchase from them. we have to support the businesses there to promote re-growth.

as for filling in rollover pass, i don't know if this is a good idea or not. once the storm surge came over the peninsula, if not for the pass, maybe more "passes" would have been created through our property...the water had to get back into the gulf and maybe rollover prevented more personal property ruin than if it had not been there. i don't know this for fact...just speculating.
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If you rebuild the maximum flood insurance is $250K and Windstorm is another $250K for a total of $500K so don't rebuild in value over this amount if you insure. And expect all rates to go up 30% next year
I'm afraid that once it's all said and done, if there's any rebuilding it will be nothing but the mansions on stilts that have infested W. galveston in recent years: it's going to take something with that kind of profit margin to justify paying the insurance and taxes once the infrastructure gets rebuilt.
I just don't get it.

Why in the heck are people getting away from cheap replacable housing on the beach?
When I was a kid, all you could see in Port A (never got to Galveston as a kid) were two room 1000 sq ft. houses that were probably not insured because it wasn't a massive fionancial loss if they blew away.

Why are people building McMansions on beachfront property when even the land might not be there the next year? Makes no sense to me at all, unless the insurance companies are paying for it all (which also makes no sense).

Or course rebuild, but why pour a quarter million into something that could get wiped off the map in nine months?

As far as skyscraper condos ala Miami and South florida, I can only hope that investors keep they're grubby little hands off the Texas coast. I want to be able to drive down the beach and not be in the shadow of a 40 story overpriced "luxury" resort.
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I think we have decided to rebuild in Crystal Beach. Thats our plan for now.

From my survey of the damage, obviously, everything at ground level got hammered. Second floor level survival seemed to turn on a couple things - a solid roof, solid pilings, and a huge dose of just plain luck.

I would wager that large sections of Bolivar are going to be snatched up by developers, held for the near term, and rebuilt later more upscale.

The big change was the availability of insurance, and with insurance, mortgage financing. Prior to insurance, it was a good bit of do-it-yourself building because it could be washed away at any time and you could not get a loan.

The insurance company that is going to pay for a bunch of this is the Fed. Flood Ins. Program. Read, the US taxpayer. Price flood insurance at "market rates" as opposed to as a subsidized gov. program, and it will temper some of the building. Price it low, and people are going to re-build yet again to the limits of the insurance.

But, this same argument can be made for large sections of the gulf coast that got hit. Baytown, Kehma, Clear Lake, and so on. So, with the don't rebuild if its going to flood eventually approach, we are looking at dozing a ton of homes in Galveston and Harris Counties. Tons.
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I agree with fishingnotcatching. It would take a major revision of building codes, property tax laws and other things but a way needs to be found to allow someone to have only a few thousand $$$ at risk when owning property on the coast. Those old places in Port A were cheap shacks for a reason. Any state subsidized insurance pool should only cover up to maybe $30k after that you are on your own. Does not mean you can't build the McMansion (or buy private insurance) just don't use my tax dollars to help.

This will never happen because developers, banks, Chamber of Commerce types, etc. have to big an interest in seeing that the property gets developed at higher and higher values.
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Rollover should be shut, for two reasons: erosion both of the gulf, and the continue filliing in of the ICW which costs taxpayers money...around the pass...to dredge all the time

I am a landowner on the bay side in Crystal Beach, quite frankly I bought over there because of learning during my Marine Science days in South Carolina that eventually, the
beaches will erode. I may not agree with the GLO on the 60 times number, but a sizeable setback shold be required, along with high insurance premiums based on the
elevation and setback distances for permanent structures.

I don't understand why the folks with trailerable boats and RV's and travel trailers didnt get their stuff out of harms way, especially since most of the residences live in or around the SE Texas area, prior to the storm. My neighbor drove in from Dallas and anchored his trailer down and got his boat out......I got my trailer out Wednesday. the only storm that sneaked up on me was Humberto and I was fortunate that missed by 20 miles. This one was not near as sneaky. Not trying to blame folks, and I understand everyones situation is different, but a lot of this damage to these types of items could have been averted.

I think we should rebuild, better, stonger and smarter than previous. To shut the pennisula down to a sancuary is to be incomprehenisible, because you know the west end is not shutting down, nor is Port A, South Padre, etc..they are all in harms way when one of these beasts approaches, the only difference is in these areas, is that MONEY is in greater supply.

Anyhow, I will once allowed, take my trailer back down, if I have to run off generator, so be it...

Heres my vote to : "Rebuild the Bolivar"
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surffan said:
Those old places in Port A were cheap shacks for a reason. Any state subsidized insurance pool should only cover up to maybe $30k after that you are on your own. Does not mean you can't build the McMansion (or buy private insurance) just don't use my tax dollars to help.

This will never happen because developers, banks, Chamber of Commerce types, etc. have to big an interest in seeing that the property gets developed at higher and higher values.
I guess what it would take is a council and CofC that understands that certain residents of texas would prefer something other than a virtually untouchable wilderness area, or completely built-up (and ruined) beachfront. Gimme a couple of shacks with window units and a clear view of the water from the road is all I ask. Keep the Sky Skrapers in Miami and South Padre.
I am sorry to see so many lose so much. That being said having a home on the coast is a risk. I hope they do not put the burden of tax and insurance to sway the people from rebuilding. I for one will keep my eye open for a nice catch down there for a possible fixer-upper.
Maybe a lesson will be learned, and the home builders will stay a little ways away from the beach, maybe not. Either way, to much private property for the goverment to take it. Would be a PR nightmare.

Once access is avalable I will start shopping for lots. My interest is only a fishing shack with a place to park a boat and jeep. If the prices are not to my taste, then I will wait for the next hurricane, because there will be another one.
Rebuilding Bolivar

The Oil and future search for the black gold will occur on Bolivar.

The existing oil wells on Bolivar.

Ranching - cattle - already established on Bolivar.
Rollover pass is important to the bay system. Closing it would be very detrimental to that side, IMO.

I get kidded all the time in Houston for calling beach houses "cabins." But when I was a kid, that's what they were in Crystal beach. 'Cause everyone knew they would blow away one day. It was not until recently that the ridiculous pricing started. You could not buy a 10th row open concept 'cabin' for under $100,000 before Ike. Hopefully, the folks in charge will realize that, and future properties will have a reasonable code for cabins, maybe a waiver of any government help should someone just want a fishing cabin and it goes away with the next storm.

I loved Bolivar specifically for that reason. It was a laid back place with a bunch of cabins. I hope like hell they don't put a bunch of code in place that only rich developers can deal with. Nothing would make me happier than to see it rebuilt with disposable cabins that anyone can afford. I too will be watching the real estate situation with high hopes.
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