The city also began assessing damaged homes and buildings by grading them on a color-coded scale of green (OK), yellow (needs electrical work) or red (condemned). The grades are based solely on structural damage, officials said, and are being given out in areas that LIPA deems safe to be re-energized. According to the city, as of Tuesday, approximately 50 percent of homes in Long Beach had been assessed. Of those, 40 percent were green, 50 percent, yellow, and 10 percent, red.
“We’re on East Penn Street near Long Beach Boulevard, we’re green and the power was restored … but now our heat isn’t working,” said Tonia Simbari. “It’s always something!”
The city also said that licensed contractors would be permitted to work in Long Beach, and temporarily waived permit fees, but urged residents to be wary of unlicensed electricians and scammers.
When asked what would happen to homeowners who receive a grade of red, Tepper said, “There were questions yesterday about FEMA … and they’ve guaranteed that they would provide a long-term housing solution. There are a lot of people displaced from their homes and, naturally, FEMA has to be there for them.”
But on Friday, the city suggested that homeowners whose homes were condemned contact their insurance companies and have an engineer or architect survey their homes. Additional questions can be asked at the building department, located on the third floor of City Hall.
Ray Ellmer, a member of the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals and a volunteer firefighter, said that it’s possible that some of the high-rise buildings along the beach could also be condemned. He added that he believes there will be a serious discussion after the city returns to normal about building dunes along the beaches and rebuilding the boardwalk higher to protect against future natural disasters.
“It’s got to be done in a way that’s safe,” Ellmer said. “Our island is not safe — we are subject to these major storms