Homeowners Must Decide Whether to Sell, Rebuild or Demolish

Houses along the shoreline in Milford and Fairfield Beach look nearly the same as they did four months ago, when they were damaged by Superstorm Sandy, but residents are now considering whether to sell, demolish or elevate their property.

"We're stuck here for probably another two years," said Skip Ziebell, who has been living in the house he normally rents out since February 1.

His main house around the corner on Silver Street is still in bad shape.

"We had planned to sell both of these houses this year,” he said.

Ziebel, one of nearly 500 homeowners whose property sustained major damage, said he's bounced around from North Haven to New Haven since then.

"Believe it or not, I think a lot of them are still in shock. It's such a hard thing to deal with," he said while showing NBC Connecticut around his Silver Street home.

He paid out of his own pocket to put a new heating and electrical system in so there wouldn't be further damage.

He's also talking to the city about elevating his property.

Ziebell is one of the lucky ones who can front the bill before receiving checks from his insurance company, like the one he got today for $60,000.

The decision to rebuild is something on the minds of many people along the shoreline. If not rebuild, some are still considering whether to sell, demolish or elevate their home.

"A lot of people don't have that kind of money. If you don't raise the house, you're not going to get anything; you're better off walking away from it."

Bruce Reshen of Fairfield Beach said he always loses his driveways in major storms like Sandy and Irene.

During Sandy, he had 16 fences around his property to make the beach more private. Now there are just two left. Though he's fully recovered from Sandy he insists building on the shore is very different.

"Living on the water is essentially a self-destructive activity once you accept that it's beautiful," Reshen added.

The biggest issue with elevating homes is the cost. It's incredibly expensive, so some must take on huge debt and live somewhere else until the job is done.

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