Brick Council to Consider Sandy Appropriation, Flood Zone Adoption Tonight
Up for a vote will be adoption of FEMA advisory maps
The Brick Township council will consider a number of measures related to Superstorm Sandy cleanup at its meeting Tuesday night, as well as an ordinance to adopt the Federal Emergency Management Agency's advisory base flood elevation (ABFE) maps, which have already been adopted by the state.
Though Gov. Chris Christie announced that the state as a whole would adopt the ABFE maps last month, individual municipalities must also adopt the maps, or they forfeit potential hazard mitigation grants which will aid residents in elevating their homes, Mayor Stephen C. Acropolis said.
The ABFE maps have been the subject of controversy, as many residents have made the case that they are not appropriately zoned and, thus, subject to unnecessary expense to either raise their house or contend with unsubsidized flood insurance rates that could grow to as much as $30,000 or more per year.
Though Acropolis said last week that he feels the maps constitute a "money grab" by the federal government, the fact that grants to residents would be in jeopardy without adopting them – as well as the fact that the state already has – has forced the local vote.
The ABFE maps are advisory in nature; finalized maps, which may scale back certain aspects of elevation and foundational requirements, are expected to be released this summer.
The adoption of the ABFE maps comes with a companion ordinance that will amend township zoning laws to allow houses in flood zones to be raised to required elevations without residents having to obtain a variance – effectively, an exception – from height requirements under existing local land use laws.
In addition, the council will consider a $12.5 million bond ordinance as an emergency appropriation "as a result of the extraordinary damage to the streets, roads and other public property caused by Hurricane Sandy," a proposed ordinance reads.
The township has already authorized $7.5 million in Sandy cleanup spending, and previously estimated the total cleanup bill could reach $53 million.
Funds expended by the township as part of the storm recovery process are eligible for a 75 percent reimbursement by FEMA, though consideration is being given by federal officials to upping that figure to a 90 percent reimbursement.
Finally, the council will consider a resolution that will allow the township to go onto private property to clear or recover debris in cases where a safety hazard exists. The resolution is expected to be used to clear debris from the destroyed Camp Osborn neighborhood, where blocks of homes were leveled by fires during the storm.
Funds expended under that resolution are also eligible for reimbursement, Township Attorney Jean Cipriani has said.
The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday night at the township municipal complex on Chambers Bridge Road.