Sandy convinces public of need for N.J. zoning, building limits

Researchers at Rutgers University say the devastation caused by Sandy has triggered strong public support for building and zoning changes to reduce the risk of future storm damage.

The study found 62 percent of New Jersey residents support land use restrictions to make coastal communities less vulnerable to hurricane damage, said Michael Greenberg, a professor at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers.

“Americans don’t want government telling them how to manage their property,” he said. “But, on the other hand, when there’s a larger community risk and people feel that they’re personally threatened, their family is threatened, their friends are threatened, they begin to see the wisdom of doing these kinds of things.”

Paying for that fortification is a different matter. Only 5 percent of residents say they support raising the state sales tax, income tax or gas tax to fund the coastal mitigation efforts.

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Researchers say that could delay immediate action. They’re concerned support for the risk-reducing policies will fade with the passage of time without another major coastal event.

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