N.J. residents seek smarter rebuilding

March 19, 2013 at 2:52 PM
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TEANECK, N.J., March 19 (UPI) -- A sizable majority of New Jersey residents said replacements for structures devastated by Hurricane Sandy should be required to be more weather resistant.

Sixty-four percent of respondents in a PublicMind poll conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson University said homeowners should be forced to rebuild houses meant to withstand significant weather events in the future. By contrast, 31 percent said people should be able to build whatever they want.

Furthermore, 58 percent of Garden State residents said those who choose not to rebuild weather-resistant homes and businesses should be forced to forfeit any future federal assistance should another storm strike. One-third of residents said federal assistance should be available in the future no matter how people choose to rebuild.

"This is a touchy subject," said Krista Jenkins, director of PublicMind and professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University. "On the one hand, there are the rights of property owners who wish to maintain their freedom to rebuild in the manner they both choose and can afford while one must also consider the public's right to make sure money isn't spent on those who fail to take adequate precautions against the darker side of Mother Nature."

She noted political affiliation was not a predictor of how people felt about rebuilding.

The poll queried 702 registered New Jersey voters by telephone with both land line and cellphones from March 4 through March 10, and has a margin of error of 3.7 percentage points.

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