Re: “Our View: Low-cost flood insurance leads to dangerous development” (May 15):

Your editorial points out that the Biggerts-Waters Act of 2012 was intended to modify National Floodplain Insurance Program rates mostly for residential properties in locations subject to flood damage. Your rationale is that the people who own these high-value properties are taking a risk, and that it’s unfair for the average taxpayer to subsidize their insurance.

However, the supposition that, for the same reason, downtown Gardiner property owners shouldn’t benefit from reasonably priced flood insurance paints an inaccurate picture of our situation.

Most businesses in downtown Gardiner are micro and small businesses. Most downtown property owners are locals, and many are the same people running the small businesses – some even make their homes in the upper floors.

Gardiner has encouraged such growth by offering tax refunds for projects that create housing and office space on our upper floors downtown, but this hardly constitutes a land grab on floodplains by “beachfront developers,” as you assert. Furthermore, our cherished historic downtown is, in myriad ways, not equivalent to a beach house on the coast, and we respectfully differ with your characterization of this matter.

Downtown Gardiner property owners aren’t seeking to get rich off the NFIP by selling out to “developers.” The most recent sale affected by Biggerts-Waters insurance rates was to locate a food co-op that will be run by Gardiner residents and volunteers, and promises to be an economic driver for Gardiner and for area farmers.

We agree that grants and low-interest loans to “floodproof” a building – or a downtown – are a good solution, but this idea has no immediate financial backing. A better solution is to support both floodproofing and a separate insurance class for historic districts in communities like Gardiner, which were founded next to the water on which they made their very livelihood.