Simply 6 Minutes: Don’t Build Your House In A Flood Plain

Wikipedia tells us that a flood plain is "an area of land adjacent to a river which stretches from the banks of its channel to the base of the enclosing valley walls, and which experiences flooding during periods of high discharge." Obviously, these people didn’t follow that piece of advice.

Kind of like people who buy homes near airports. If you ever read the book Airport by Arthur Hailey, you know that one of the subplots is about people who built their homes near Lincoln International Airport (very loosely based on O’Hare Airport in Chicago, where I spent a lot of time both when I lived in Chicago and after moving to Atlanta). The people were assured by their real estate agents that noise from the airport would not be a problem, and of course it was, because just as the people who were building the airport put up signs that said in essence an airport is a very noisy place, the real estate agents, seeing dollar signs, tore the signs down. Now the people who bought in that area are blaming the airport for being noisy.

A similar situation happened on the South Side near Midway Airport. When I first moved to that part of town, Midway was like a ghost town, with maybe one or two flights going in and out each day. The quieter it got near Midway, the more people moved into the neighborhood. Then along comes Midway Airlines, who said "hey, we can use Midway and fly to destinations around the Midwest, and I’ll bet a lot of people will fly on our airline because they don’t have to fly in and out of O’Hare!" Which is what they did, and business travelers, like me, used it. And we were all very happy, but the people who lived near Midway were none too pleased. Hey, they bought near an airport…

I don’t know if any of you have been to Monroe, Louisiana, but there’s a refinery in Monroe and a paper mill in West Monroe, on the other side of Bayou Desaird. When both are working, things get more than a little smelly there. If you’re ever thinking of moving to Monroe, you might want to visit and make sure you can cope with it. I’ve been there more than a few times, and I really like the place despite the smell, but your mileage may vary.

Christine Bialczak runs Simply 6 Minutes.

10 thoughts on “Simply 6 Minutes: Don’t Build Your House In A Flood Plain

  1. Your advice to not live in a flood plain is great. They built a neighborhood here some 20 + years ago, on top of an old dump. They then named the main street Aroma Drive. Not kidding. It was all in a disclaimer in the real estate ads. Some 10 years later the neighborhood lived up to its name and the law suits started. The people lost and the developers won, because they warned them in advance.


  2. This reminds me of the commercial…maybe for Progressive or Geico, about the people who bought a house next to an airport. So funny but then again I don’t have to live there!


    1. When I was in high school, we lived close enough to O’Hare Airport that we were on their flight patterns a couple of nights a week, usually Saturday nights. I got married and we lived roughly the same distance from Midway, and once again we were on the flight patterns some nights. After a while, you just ignore it…

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  3. Ah yes…Right now, B.C is experiencing a disaster with major flooding. The town of Hope and other similar towns have been cut off because all the major highways, the only way to get in and out from Vancouver, have been washed out or major mudslides. Some pieces of the roads are actually gone! My friend, who lives in Vancouver, near the airport, must wear rubber boots because everything is flooded. The Sumas Valley, near Abbotsford has devastated the farmers as thousands of animals have died. Why Trudeau has not called a state of emergency is beyond me. The problem though is the Sumas Valley, until the 1920s, was an actual lake! They drained it for farming so there should not be a surprise, despite the devastation. I think all the clear cutting done in the 1980s etc, also has a play in it since the soil was held together by the trees. My dad was quite upset when this was in the news.


  4. When we first moved into our house here in CA it was designated as being in a 100 year flood plain so we had to add flood insurance. A few years later they reevaluated our location to determine that it was no longer in a flood plain. Guess they figured we’d never ever get enough rain for this place to flood.

    We are also in one of the flight path approaches to LAX, but the planes are so high as they pass over that it’s very rare that we can hear them and if we do it’s a very soft noise that can only be heard if you are outside. Hope none of those planes ever crash on our neighborhood.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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