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Long Beach code changes to ease home rebuilding

Debris is piled along Michigan Street in Long

Debris is piled along Michigan Street in Long Beach as people strip their houses and throw out belongings destroyed by superstorm Sandy. (Nov. 18, 2012) Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

The Long Beach City Council has passed code changes designed to make it easier for residents to rebuild homes damaged by superstorm Sandy.

The changes impact the maximum height of homes in the West End, President Streets and Canals neighborhoods, all of which were hit hard by Sandy. The maximum height would be raised from 20 feet to 23 feet in the President Streets and Canals neighborhoods, and 17 feet to 23 feet in the West End.

The changes also state that pre-existing one- and two-family structures will be given permits to rebuild if they are built in conformance with Federal Emergency Management Agency and state building construction codes and have adequate parking. Rebuilders also must submit plans to the city building department for approval, according to documents filed at City Hall.

A similar measure that would impact the Walks neighborhood will be the subject of a Feb. 5 public hearing. The measure would raise height restrictions from 20 feet to 23 feet.

“Our goal is to get people into their house — a safe house,” said Scott Kemins, the city’s building commissioner. “At the end of the day, I want everyone living back in Long Beach.”

The City Council also voted Tuesday to elect Councilman Scott Mandel as the council president, replacing Len Torres. In a move to decentralize authority in the city, the council restructured itself in July so the board will have a new president every six months.

Photo: Debris is piled across Michigan Street in Long Beach as people strip their houses and throw out belongings which were destroyed by superstorm Sandy. (Nov. 18, 2012)

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