Sandy By the Numbers: 2,280 Homes Damaged in Brick; Map Appeal Debated
New data released by the state Department of Community Affairs breaks down Sandy-related damage by municipality
In New Jersey, Brick sustained among the largest number of damaged housing units from Superstorm Sandy, with about 2,280 affected, according to an interactive map of destruction compiled by njspotlight.com.
Of those homes in Brick, 744 were severely damaged — meaning they were impacted by more than $28,800, according to data provided by the state Department of Community Affairs.
- 2,280 total homes were damaged — nine homes had minor damage; 1,527 had major damage; 744 severe.
- There were 378 total rental units with damage — 211 minor; 132 major; 35 severe.
- 2,693 businesses were impacted.
Major damage includes homes that suffered $8,000 to $28,800 in damages while severe is more than $28,800.
The data notes that nearly 87,000 housing units were damaged statewide, about 12,500 of those were either destroyed or sustained major damage. At least 1,000 residences were damaged in 24 municipalities in seven counties. Nearly 400,000 businesses were impacted, as well.
The DCA released its action plan for spending billions of dollars in Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recover funds last week. The initial phase will provide $1.8 billion to help more than 20,000 homeowners, 5,000 renters, 10,000 businesses, as well as municipalities impacted by the storm.
The bulk of the money for storm victims to elevate or repair their houses will be reserved for low to moderate income households, however, a decision that has drawn criticism from many residents and government officials.
But regardless of the impact of Sandy, the next battle for Shore - and, thus, Brick - residents will be FEMA flood maps which force residents to elevate their homes or face flood insurance bills up to $31,000 per year.
The controversy is double-faceted: the maps themselves, and the fact that the federal government will no longer subsidize flood insurance rates.
The lack of subsidies drew the Brick mayor's ire.
"They subsidize roads, they subsidize gas companies, they subsidize everybody, but they won't subsidize our flood insurance," Mayor Stephen C. Acropolis said. "They don't make people in tornado alley build underground, or prevent them from building two-story homes because they're more dangerous."
Some residents have called for local governments to begin appealing the maps before the next round are due to be released this summer, ushering in a formal public comment and appeal period, though going that route is questionable, some say.
"If we're not going to be ready until August, we're missing a huge opportunity," said Ron Jampel, who founded the group Save Our Communities 2013 in the wake of the hurricane. "People are waiting, and we've had three months already to look at the maps."
Although U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez has publicly said FEMA will accept informal appeals before the next round of maps come out, officials are wary of submitting materials before they can be officially counted as part of the record, however.
"We hope that they're going to get a look at some working maps," said Acropolis. "But to have a federal official placate us and say, 'we'll accept appeals but they won't be official,' I don't know how much weight that will carry."
Acropolis said the township is working with township engineer Elissa Commins, as well as well-known marine engineer Andrew Reikel to make its case to FEMA that the advisory maps released after the storm do not take into account structures and bulkheads that may result in some residents being taken out of velocity, or 'V,' flood zones that require significantly more expensive foundations to be built underneath a raised home.
"We're going to get that information to FEMA as soon as possible to get those maps changed," said Councilman John Ducey.