FREEPORT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — From her home, Marion Long’s view of the Freeport Canal is now only a pre-Superstorm Sandy memory.
The rebuilt home across the street has grown 3 1/2 stories, towering over West Fourth Street.
“This was his dream house,” Long told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan. “To us, it’s our nightmare.”
Long and many of her neighbors claim ostentatious monstrosities are changing the landscape of their modest and historic community, McLogan reported.
They accuse some of taking advantage of what Sandy wrought by raising and rebuilding their homes without any regard for the families next door — casting their smaller homes in shadow and gloom.
About 3,000 of Freeport’s 7,800 homes were damaged or destroyed in Sandy. New York Rising and the Federal Emergency Management Agency say rebuilding requires elevating homes at least a half-story from the street.
Freeport Mayor Robert Kennedy is fielding calls from residents frustrated by the number of McMansions being built, but he said neighborhoods must be protected from the next big storm.
“If you all raise your homes, you are going to have the same view you had before homes started to be raised,” he told McLogan. “It is a benefit to everybody. You are going to save yourself insurance money.”
Homes won’t be insured without passing new village, town and county codes.
In the long run, change will pay off, real estate appraiser Mark Davella predicted.
“As the houses are raised, they are coming back above and beyond where the previous sales levels were and where the assessment levels were,” Davella said.
All the waterfront homeowners are still eligible to apply for New York Rising funding. The state is offering $100,000 to $350,000 to elevate homes.
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