The Government and Local Developers Answer Hurricane Loss Issues on the Texas Gulf Coast

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The State of Texas and an innovative group of local developers on the Bolivar Peninsula Galveston County have put in place a hurricane resistant coastline and housing products that could become the model answer to the nation's rising coastal hurricane damage costs and insurance problems.

Most of the Bolivar Peninsula survives a direct hit from hurricane Humberto with little ill effect. Residents did not have time to evacuate as Humberto was classified as a tropical storm until right before it struck land at 1:30am.

This example clearly identifies the need to have the safety of hurricane resistant homes and reinforced protected beachfronts. Family safety is more important than property losses and insurance coverage issues.

Even with today's technology, weather experts did not predict tropical storm Humberto would transform into a hurricane and the majority of Bolivar's coastal residents had to "ride it out" counting on their homes to protect their family.

Fortunately, the State of Texas, Galveston County and an innovative group of local developers on the Bolivar Peninsula have put in place a storm resistant coastline and housing products that could become the model answer to the nation's mounting coastal hurricane damage costs and insurance problems.

One group, Crown Team Texas from Beaumont, is building hurricane resistant homes from modular factory-built sections that are bolted onto sky-scraper inspired concrete and steel pillars 25ft above and below the ground. These homes are certified storm and flood resistant up to a category 4 hurricane by the I.B.H.S. Fortified Living Standards program.

The Institute for Business & Home Safety (I.B.H.S.) is a nonprofit association that engages in communication, education, engineering and research that specify construction, design and landscaping guidelines to increase a new home's resistance to natural disaster from the ground up.

These affordable and attractive homes are currently being installed at Audubon Village Gilchrist and Laguna Harbor Port Bolivar on the Bolivar Peninsula in seaside neighborhoods behind a geo-tube protected beachfront in Gilchrist and concrete re-enforced bulkheads on the bayside in Port Bolivar..

The Corps of Engineers installed a geo-tube on the coastline extending five miles on each side of rollover pass in Gilchrist Texas. The project provides protection of public beach and public infrastructure using a natural beach restoration technique. The project uses the cost-effective and beneficial use of dredged material and has been deemed as one of the most successful projects implemented by the Government to protect and enhance the Texas Coastline.

The geo-tube has already been credited with saving over 200 homes on the Bolivar Peninsula coastline.

County Office of Emergency Management officials credit the geo-tubes with saving parts of Texas 87 and preventing about $11 million in property damage when rains and wind from Hurricane Claudette blew through Bolivar Peninsula.

"If we had not had the tube it would have gotten two to three rows of homes," said Oehlers, president of the Gilchrist Association, in a telephone interview. "We didn't realize how bad it was because we had the tube," said Oehlers, who has lived in Gilchrist for 26 years.

"With a geo-tube enhanced beachfront and the added protection of hurricane resistant homes - placed at almost flood proof heights - you have a combination that even the most cautious insurer can't deny." says Jim Hayes, Senior Partner of Crown Team Texas, developer of Audubon Village and Laguna Harbor.

"The best part is the peace of mind that homeowners and renters can enjoy - knowing that the home their family is staying-in can endure nature's worst. We hope this combination of government action and commercial home design is looked into as a long term solution to the rising costs from hurricane damages as more and more people head to the coast." Says Michael Stuart, CEO of provides real estate information and analysis for the Bolivar Peninsula, Crystal Beach, Galveston, Corpus Christi, Port Aransas, Mustang Island, Rockport, South Padre Island, Port O'Connor and McAllen Texas.


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Alice Donahue
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