WAITING GAME: Richard Broccoli’s house on Charlestown Beach saw its front deck ripped off and electric system destroyed from the impact of Hurricane Sandy. Broccoli is awaiting word on when he can begin the rebuilding.
PBN PHOTO/BRIAN MCDONALD
BEFORE THE STORM: Richard Broccoli’s Charlestown cottage before Hurricane Sandy’s storm surges struck the Rhode Island coast.
The storm surge from Hurricane Sandy shifted Richard Broccoli’s Charlestown cottage on its pilings, ripped off the front deck and ruined the electrical system.
Like many property owners affected by Sandy, Broccoli wants to rebuild, but doesn’t know when or whether he will be allowed to by authorities concerned with the future of homes built precariously close to an encroaching ocean.
“We all feel we don’t know what is going to happen,” said Broccoli about the future of his and other damaged beach houses on Charlestown Beach Road. “If we are going to rebuild, we need to rebuild now.”
While he and neighbors wait, they put up snow fences around their property to catch sand and try to build back parts of the dune that were lost in the storm.
Along with the great views, oceanfront property has always come with the inherent risk of the sea.
Seldom has that risk seemed more acute than now, as beaches shrink and devastating storms seem increasingly common.
But how Sandy’s wrath will affect people’s desire to live by the water or alter the valuable real estate there is still unclear and depends on the tricks of geography that caused some areas extensive damage while nearby neighborhoods were unscathed.
With offices in southeastern Connecticut and South County, Rhode Island, and a strong presence in the Misquamicut and Charlestown summer rental market, Randall Realtors, Real Living Real Estate has seen the damage caused by Sandy up close.
CEO Douglas Randall said the firm expects to take a hit from lost commissions on damaged rental listings and pending sales of homes – at least three – that didn’t close and might never because of the storm.
On Sandy’s future impact, Randall said the seasonal rental market will probably be affected more than anything else because so many beach cottages are rented.
Even properties that weren’t seriously damaged might find it hard to find bookings, he added, because of the perception that their beaches and villages were compromised.
But in the long run, Randall said people will return to beach properties if owners are allowed to rebuild and another major storm doesn’t come along soon.