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Brick Council Introduces Adoption of Advisory Flood Maps

What the new maps mean for Brick and when relief may come

The Brick Township council took the first step toward adopting advisory base flood elevation maps issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency at its meeting Tuesday night.

The maps, which can be found online, were released in the afermath of Superstorm Sandy, though they were in the works long before the storm struck the Jersey Shore. Eventually, they would have come into effect even if Sandy had never materialized.

The state as a whole adopted the maps last month under an order from Gov. Chris Christie. The township, following that announcement, was effectively obligated to follow, not just for rebuilding purposes but so residents could take advantage of government grants which would help them comply.

"By adopting the maps by ordinance, our residents are eligible to apply for Increased Cost of Compliance grants in order to comply with [the new regulations]," said Elissa Commins, the township engineer.

Christie said adopting a statewide code would speed up Shore area reconstruction after the storm, but the real-world ramifications of the map adoption may accomplish the exact opposite result, many now say.

What The Maps Mean

Residents faced with rebuilding their homes that were more than 50 percent damaged in Sandy must now comply with strengthened elevation and – for those in velocity, or 'V' zones – foundation requirements. The ordinance introduced Tuesday also calls for one foot of "freeboard," above and beyond the base flood elevation requirement.

In many areas of Brick, homeowners will be required to raise their structures several feet, and those in 'V' zones will be required to install costly piling foundations instead of concrete or cinder block foundations.

For residents whose homes were undamaged by the storm – or not damaged to the tune of 50 percent – the maps will still have a major impact. Those residents, many of whom are obligated by their mortgage company to carry flood insurance, will see their rates rise to as much as $30,000 or more per year if they do not comply on their own.

For those residents, Hazard Mitigation Grants and Community Development Block Grants may be available in the future.

The expected increased cost of flood insurance stems less from the maps themselves and more from the fact that federal lawmakers voted last spring to end subsidies to the National Flood Insurance Program.

"I was paying $384. Now, if I spend $50,000 to raise it, it's still going to go up to $3,500," said Councilman Domenick Brando. "It's an absolute money grab, what they're doing to the people here."

The bill, passed by Congress in May and signed into law by President Barack Obama soon after, was attached to a transportation measure that also included controversial continued funding to student loan programs. Few recognized its ramifications to Shore homeowners until after Sandy struck, though the high insurance rates would have come even if the storm had never hit.

What's Next?

The maps are still subject to change. The state – and the council, on first reading – adopted advisory maps. FEMA is expected to release its preliminary base flood elevation, BFE, maps this summer. Those maps will most likely take into account structures such as homes, docks and other features which will alter where the 'V' zones are located and reduce their footprint on the map.

"We're optimistic that the preliminary mapping will have a wave analysis that defines the true scenario during Sandy, Irene and other storms," said Commins. "It's my understanding that the advisory maps that were released do not have a complete wave analysis."

Commins said the maps that have already been released are "strictly based on the contour of the land," and do not take into account bulkheads, jetties and other houses that could reduce wave action.

"I am hopeful for June," said Commins, of when the next phase of maps may be released.

Then, a 30 day public comment period begins followed by a 60 day appeal period. After that, an act of Congress puts the final maps into effect, which could take up to a year.

A scaled back 'V' zone may provide only limited relief to homeowners, however, since elevation requirements will still apply.

The township council also adopted, on first reading, a companion ordinance that modified local land use laws so residents will be able to raise their homes to the required elevation without having to obtain a variance from the Board of Adjustment.

That ordinance also included permission for elevated mechanicals such as air conditioning units, as well as decks. In flood zones, the height requirement of a home will be whatever the traditional height limit was in a particular zone, but with the FEMA required elevation plus one foot of freeboard tacked on.

Both ordinances require a public hearing and second vote before they are finally approved. The hearing and second vote normally take place at the council meeting following the introduction vote.

Taxed to death February 06, 2013 at 12:17 PM
When/how are the affected homes going to be appraised to reflect their greatly reduced values for tax purposes?
Jim February 06, 2013 at 12:35 PM
I found out something very interesting last week that I wasn't aware of and I'm sure the people affected by these FEMA maps aren't aware of either. The people who live in these A Zones or V Zones and are facing raising their homes and paying high insurance premiums were going to have to deal with these problems even if Sandy didn't occur. I spent some time with a retired State Senator last week and he stated to me that the people of the Mid Atlantic region are going to deal with the problems of raising their homes and high premiums not because of Sandy but because of the Transportation Bill passed by Congress in 2009. Remember the shovel ready jobs that didn't exist? In that Bill was hidden the elimination of the insurance subsidies. These subsidies were the reason flood insurance was reasonable. Now that the subsidies are gone the insurance companies, who get susidized by the tax payer, are protecting themselves by forcing people to comply or sell. I feel for the people affected by these outragious laws. I grew up here and I'm afraid it will never be the same.
Scott Pezarras February 06, 2013 at 12:53 PM
Jim You are correct The Biggert-Waters passed by Congress in August of last year removed subsidies from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The advisory base flood elevation maps (ABFE's) were going to change even if Sandy didn't hit the Jersey Shore. The storm data that is driving the current Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM's) is at least 20 years old. FEMA map people have been reviewing the storm data from the last 60 years and using new topographical technology which is more accurate to produce the new ABFE's which when all the modeling is complete will drive the preliminary maps and start the public comment section of the process. After which an act of Congress is required order to create the new FIRM's. This would take place in 2014 if all goes according to schedule. There is also no grandfathering once these new maps are implemented, and houses that are not at new established elevations will be paying much higher flood insurance premiums.
Jim February 06, 2013 at 01:06 PM
Democrats in Washington say we don't have a spending problem its that we don't pay enough taxes. Republicans say we have a spending problem and reduce taxes. I lost $100 out of my pay this month and my wife $200. I spent out of pocket $2000 this past year on medical co pays where the previous year I had the same work and it cost me nothing. And I hear we're heading in the right direction. Pretty soon we all will be in the same position as the people who live along the coast, under water.
bernie February 06, 2013 at 02:17 PM
Kudos to Mayor Acropolis for standing up and confronting the "property lein" issue the finance council wanted to adopt at the 11th hour. Was a HUGE save !
J.JONES February 06, 2013 at 05:29 PM
Thank You Mayor...But things don't get better soon there will be another empty home In Bricktown...Don't. Care anymore !
Adam February 06, 2013 at 05:59 PM
Im wondering how many people will walk away from their flood damaged homes with the prospect of paying thousands of dollars in Flood insurance each year. Who would want to buy a home where the flood insurance cost is $30000 per year?
Kim E February 06, 2013 at 06:50 PM
Please help us fight these new flood maps and rates: Go to http://www.facebook.com/StopFemaNow
WMS826 February 06, 2013 at 08:41 PM
Wow...too bad this did not happen before the election. I wonder if his greatness would have carried NY and NJ. This has to be done, there is no way we can keep doing this no matter what part of the country it occurs in. When you now drive on the island you can see just how narrow it is in spots without homes obstructing the view. I would not be surprised if there was another storm where the bay and ocean meet again. This will lead to a new re-birth for the township in these areas where the bungalows remain from the 40's and should never have been allowed for full time occupancy. Also it will stabilize prices at the shore which should never have gotten to where they once were in waterfront property.
bernie February 06, 2013 at 08:46 PM
TIME TO TAKE BACK THE DUNES AND BUILD THEM TO THE HEIGHTS THEY SHOULD BE !
bernie February 06, 2013 at 08:52 PM
Adam, so far the people that are walking away are those that were ignorant enough to live on the water or near enough to be in a flood zone, but since they had no mortgage and didnt need to carry a flood policy, opt'd not to. Those people who "CHOSE" not to maintain flood Ins "CHOSE" not to want/need help at that moment. My family owned the home since late 50's and always maintained Property and Flood Ins even after it was paid off and made a conscious decision to protect there investment. IF YOU CHOSE TO NOT CARRY A FLOOD POLICY THEN YOU SHOULDNT BE ENTITLED TO ANY ASSISTANCE. People that deserve the FEMA assistance are those that lost that WERE NOT in a flood zone and still suffered a loss. Sorry but thats my take. If you raise your home and become compliant your insurance will not be $30,000 or anywhere near it.
patch February 06, 2013 at 10:14 PM
why adopt flawed maps? do you really believe you will get a grant? if you did,it would not come close to the cost of raising a house!do our officials listen to the citizens at all?
bernie February 06, 2013 at 10:33 PM
Patch, He agreed to do so to allow funding to come into the towns to.start rebuilding. Ive got $30k from ICC and it will take another $28-$32k to complete the raising.
J.JONES February 06, 2013 at 11:47 PM
I believe the Mayor is looking out for the best recovery and support for our town..Thank You Mayor Acropolis..
J.JONES February 07, 2013 at 12:56 AM
@Bernie good luck with the rebuild..I know people who didn't have $ saved to do anything yet waiting for help from Ins.company and fema, they have been living in an apartment so far 2br. And 4 people...Just Sad...
bernie February 07, 2013 at 01:07 AM
I dont have alot either! NFIP ( flood ins) dispersed some $$ so i could start w demo etc. FEMA has so far only picked up my hotel because i had flood...im not entitled to any other assistance because i have flood ins. But thanks n good luck to you as well
Missing Brick February 07, 2013 at 01:46 AM
What an absolutely absurd organization FEMA is. Like some sort of Kafka novel. By the time this is all over, you are going to see a lot of people lose their homes, their lives, and their dreams. Fema is not about help, it's one more soul-less way to steal middle class dreams. Get ready for a lot of finger pointing an not a lot of help. That seems to be the way they all deal. Woe is us. Don't count on a grant that will raise your house, after making phone calls for weeks, I see it is just another shell game to pretend they give a damn. MB
Jim February 07, 2013 at 01:57 AM
386 million for illegals, 1 billion for 19 green energy companies that went bankrupt, billions of dollars in foreign aid to countries that don't like us, and people here hurting for help and Washington does away with insurance subsidies. I wish you all luck.
bernie February 07, 2013 at 02:05 AM
http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2013302060073
KC February 07, 2013 at 05:16 AM
So long "Safest City" so long white middle class.
KC February 07, 2013 at 05:50 AM
Seriously, it "ain't" that wonderful here anyway. Will the last one to leave please blow out the candle.
shorecorruption February 07, 2013 at 07:46 AM
Apply for a Government grant for a new business ,Shore flood insurance.
Adeelee February 07, 2013 at 08:28 AM
Jim.......what you just stated sums it all up in a nutshell......where is the help that our own people need right now??? These people arent asking for help from sources outside this country!!! Whats wrong with this picture??? It just seems like theyre turning their backs on folks on their own soil.....makes me sooooo mad!!
Donna C February 07, 2013 at 03:45 PM
I live on a lagoon closer inland. I am in AE zone, home at 8.75 elevation. We did not have water in home which is already on pilings. The proposed height is 9, there is no way we can afford to raise a foot. My taxes are already close to $10,000. Chase bank come get it.... You Win!
bernie February 07, 2013 at 03:48 PM
Sounds like you need to appeal your taxes. They are going to drop anyway due to values dropping. Get reassessed ASAP
bernie February 07, 2013 at 06:17 PM
https://www.change.org/petitions/governor-chris-christie-reverse-the-decision-to-adopt-the-current-fema-map-height-requirements?utm_campaign=friend_inviter_chat&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition&utm_term=permissions_dialog_false#supporters
Jack Jampel February 07, 2013 at 08:35 PM
PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION AND SHARE WITH EVERYONE YOU KNOW !! 12Like · · Share. 2 people like this.. Save Our New Jersey Communities https://www.change.org/petitions/governor-chris-christie-reverse-the-decision-to-adopt-the-current-fema-map-height-requirements?utm_campaign=friend_inviter_chat&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition&utm_term=permissions_dialog_false#supporters Governor Chris Christie: Reverse the decision to adopt the current FEMA map height requirements www.change.org The adopted height requirements will force many families out of their homes. It ...

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