From the lens of the Mauler.

MillCity Screw Job: Flood Plains expand, Policy Rates go up.


Lowell Sun

BOSTON — Massachusetts is being swamped with horror stories of skyrocketing insurance premiums for homes on the water’s edge and, more recently, in adjacent areas once considered safe from flooding.
State legislators and the state’s congressional delegation say they are hearing of rates jumping by as much 1,000 percent, driven by changes in a federal insurance program and by data suggesting that more properties are at risk from rising ocean levels and climate change.
State Rep. James Cantwell, a Marshfield Democrat, says he has heard of premiums increasing as much as $60,000 per year. Other lawmakers have similar stories.
“The highest one I’ve seen was $60,000,” said U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, a Massachusetts Democrat. “The house was only worth $250,000. In roughly four years, you’ve basically paid for your house.”

I suppose if you’ve never lived in a flood plain, this story is just white noise. But you’d be surprised how many properties in Lowell fall inside the re-drawn flood maps. And I’m not talking about the obvious river huggers and those savages still living along Beaver Brook. I’m talking about downtown Mill Condos, or my old house that was a solid driver -three wood distance from Trull F’n Brook. That’s right, Trull Brook. That’s the moment you know the program is bull shit. In seven years, the neighborhood didn’t see a puddle big enough for Centralville kids to cross the city and play in. (The region saw 30 year floods in this period) But I still had to carry a $280/month premium.

Generally, no lender is going to approve a mortgage for a property in a flood plain without a flood insurance policy. And not surprisingly, they generally require coverage for the entire principle amount of the loan. In other words, you’re basically paying a premium to indemnify the bank, not that dirty papasan chair that’s inexplicably still in your basement mansworld.

The good news is that the flood maps don’t consider the elevation of structures on your property. If you’re not packing puddles, and are paying for a hefty policy, you may want explore obtaining a FEMA map amendment. For a few hundred dollars to hire a surveyor to shoot the elevation of your basement window, you can in all likelihood be removed from the plain via a letter of map amendment. You get to save yourself some monthly cabbage that you can spend downtown.

PS. This advice isn’t free. I charge a 3% commission, or a beer if you see me at a hockey game.


Busy Thursday?!?!


Friend of the blog and author Donna Lethal is making her triumphant return to Lowell this week for a limited visit before heading back home to Los Angeles.  Thursday night at 7pm at Zeitgeist she’ll be doing a reading from her book “Milk of Amensia” which is all about growing up back in the 70’s and 80’s in the Mill City.

Can’t argue with facts…our Handcock Buildings are little larger than everyone elses.

20131219-150845.jpg, which claims to be America’s first online condom store (who knew!), has decided to conduct its own very important, highly scientific study*. According to a press release, the website compiled condom sales data by state to find out which states bought a higher-than-average amount of larger-sized condoms.
The result? A list of all 50 states, “ordered by penis size”–and some surprising news for the Dakotas.
1. North Dakota
2. Rhode Island
3. South Dakota
4. District of Columbia
5. Massachusetts
6. Ohio
7. Arizona


45. Alaska
46. North Carolina
47. Wyoming
48. Arkansas
49. Hawaii
50. Mississippi

Imagine how the Baystate would fare if we weren’t lousy with Irish guys and cold weather? Quite impressive if I do say so myself. Packing heat for days….