Tomorrow my neighbors’ houses on Bayview Road at Money Island NJ will be torn down by a state contractor. Hardly a day goes by when someone doesn’t ask me “Why?”. Yet even with as many times as I had to respond to this question, I still don’t have an answer that I really believe. Some would say they were unable to handle the high costs associated with rising water levels. Others call it “NJDEP terrorism”. At least two would say they were scared. I wonder about the thought process that went into my neighbors’ thinking that caused them to act differently that what they told me in person when we talked last.
No doubt this is am emotional and sad time for many. Looking at the photos, I think of the happy times I’ve had as a guest in many of these neighbors houses in earlier times. I also think of the few neighbors who later blamed me for causing the state to acquire these houses. I try to not think too much about the bizarre events that led to death threats and even an attempt on my life by an angry neighbor and a politician for my role in trying to preserve this community.
After tomorrow only two houses will be left. Mine, one of the two, is mostly an office now. The only reason we are spared is because we are protected by a half million dollar sea wall, sand berms, and sturdy pilings that elevate the buildings. I really can’t imagine what is ahead for us. Many questions surface. Will we be besieged by another round of disaster tourists (like after Sandy)? Will the state step up harassment against the two remaining homeowners? How will we cope with wilder wetter weather and the flooding ahead? What physical accommodations will be necessary? Will my floating infrastructure designs for parking, outbuildings, etc., gradually become accepted under boating regulations or will continue to clash with building code enforcement?
I know we won’t be the last to grapple with such questions. I just wish we weren’t among the first.