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Planning Board Endorses Flood Zone Measure

Overlay zone will complement elevation ordinance

Brick Township's planning board on Wednesday night endorsed an ordinance calling for an overlay zone on top of properties in flood zones under newly-adopted FEMA advisory base flood elevation maps.

The ordinance, introduced on first reading by the township council last week, creates an overlay zone with the aim of allowing residents who are rebuilding their homes to new elevation standards to avoid having to obtain variances from the township's Board of Adjustment.

What the ordinance effectively does is maintain current maximum building height requirements, but adds on the amount to which a building must be elevated in a flood zone. The measure also includes exceptions that will give residents leeway to build necessary stairways to access their heightened properties from the front and rear.

Additionally, the new ordinance allows for utilities such as air conditioners and heating units to be moved upwards to base flood elevation, as the law now requires, said Elissa Commins, township engineer, who was present at the meeting.

The discussion eventually turned to what would become of the area, for 'V' zone residents, beneath the home, which would be up on pilings. While some residents may choose to leave the area open and use it as a covered space for cars, the ordinance also includes language that allows for break-away walls to cover the space, for both aesthetic and practical reasons.

Break-away walls around elevated homes is a common sight in areas like Long Beach Island.

"What normally happens is that you have a large area, and you start using it for living space," said board member Dominick Rappoccio.

Commins responded that while the area is not permitted to be living space, there is no specific prohibition against heating the area or using it in another way.

"They won't insure it, and you can't have any utilities beneath your base flood elevation," she said. "But conceivably, you could have your heater above it and pump heat down into it."

"Living space," she said, is commonly defined as an area that has a minimum clearance, heat and utilities, and meets fire code standards.

Taking away the ability to enclose the space beneath piling-elevated buildings has been the practice in some Brick neighborhoods already.

"We've had V zones in Brick Township along the oceanfront since 1972," said Commins. "If we take that away, we basically make the town one of the haves and the have nots, and we've worked very hard to make sure that doesn't happen."

The ordinance also includes measures that require landscaping in front of 30 percent of a foundation to break up the view of the foundational wall for those who enclose their space beneath the house, and for those in 'A' zones who raise their homes using cinder blocks.

Commins said the township is currently developing a specific form residents can fill out to apply to elevate their homes in order to streamline the process.

The planning board unanimously endorsed the measure. It is expected to be on the Feb. 19 council meeting agenda for a second reading, public hearing and final vote.

knarfie February 14, 2013 at 01:15 PM
All very confusing. If there is a good chance the maps will be changed, why the rush to elevate homes, of course if your home is unlivable, I can see the urgency. There seems to be very little direction from people who are supposed to know what is going on.
Scott Pezarras February 14, 2013 at 01:30 PM
Knarfie We can only give you the factual information regarding your rebuild. Direction as you call it would have to come from the homeowners professional that has vetted out the homeowners goals and expectations for the property. It would not be proper for Twp. employees to provide assistance with that process. It would be like the Twp completing your zoning application for you when you come in to get a bldg permit, or drawing a conforming plmbg schematic for the homeowner.
Keith February 14, 2013 at 03:24 PM
Scott, Example: If I am at say 8.5 feet for my current base elevation and I need to be at 9 feet (100 year storm scenario), will I be allowed to raise my house just to that point or will I be able to go a certain amount over to say 13' to get significantly lower rates and to meet the 300 year storm scenario? In a V zone, I need to raise an additional foot. I am currently at an elevation at or near the peak elevations for my structure. If I am told I can only raise it to meet the new height, don't I have an argument against the town for preventing me to obtain the lowest rate and safety measure. This all needs to be discussed now. I want to raise and get my permits and engineering underway. Lots to consider.
knarfie February 14, 2013 at 04:36 PM
Scott, I don't agree with your analogy. In your scenario, people are dealing with established codes and requirements long established. The zone maps have a good chance of being changed, if you listen to talk. Maybe yes, maybe not. To encourage residents ,although well intentioned I'm sure, to expedite the raising of homes could be a big error since it still appears to be a nebulous situation. I don't think someone who rushes to spend $30,000. or more to raise a house will be too happy to find they didn't have to do anything. Just my opinion.
Daniel Nee (Editor) February 14, 2013 at 04:52 PM
Keith - The ordinance (as well as the state code) has a built-in one foot of freeboard over the ABFE. If you want to go to another foot (or two) of freeboard you'll need a variance. That said, when the preliminary maps are released in August, there is a chance that the BFE will be reduced, thus your one foot of freeboard will have become two or more.
Keith February 14, 2013 at 06:37 PM
Thanks Daniel. Even at just one foot above freeboard, the rates are astronomical. The real savings is going two and three feet over to fall into the less than 1% chance of flooding in a 300 year scenario. The savings to go 1 foot over is really not going to make much sense financially for most. Wish Yoda was around to use the force to lift my home! Thank you for the follow up though...much appreciated.
J.JONES February 14, 2013 at 06:58 PM
@ Scott will The zone maps be explained where you the thinks the changes may be ..or do we have to wait till Aug.. to fine out ..Thank you..
Wendie February 14, 2013 at 07:34 PM
Seriously? Now we're REQUIRED to get new landscaping too? This just never ends. Someone, somewhere - please get your head out of your ass. Are we going to have landscape engineers? Permits? Inspectors? OMG. I really can't take anymore. I'm totally eff'd. And on top of it all, I gotta plant bushes and bulbs. Who do I need to call before I dig? The undertaker? Oooh look! Turtle eggs. Uh oh... Anyone else loosin it?
carol jones February 14, 2013 at 10:02 PM
Filing for a LOMA and dealing with a home which didn't flood and the nearest water was 30' away from any part of the structure still leaves us up a creek, FEMA, NJ and Brick should ask residents to come to a meeting and discuss this I can show you with pictures and our site plan where the water actually was during Irene the water was 50' from the house. Previously we were in a C zone which did not require flood insurance at all. If it wasn't for the breah at mantoloking bridge the water woul;d not have gone over our bulkhead.Can't wait for my increased tax bill to hit
Scott Pezarras February 14, 2013 at 11:55 PM
Keith, you can go higher, but you must comply with the Twp's height ordinance as well . It is on for second reading on Feb 19th.
Scott Pezarras February 14, 2013 at 11:58 PM
Knarfie that is why we are telling people to consult THEIR professionals. Everybody's situation is different. But one thing is sure without the ordinance NOBODY gets to start rebuilding and have access to ICC funds.
Dawn Marie White February 15, 2013 at 12:44 AM
Scott, Does this overlay zone allow for 3' above the ABFE in both the A & V Zones? As 3' above AFBE heights have lowest cost estimates in flood premiums to homeowners.
Cherry Quay resident February 15, 2013 at 12:47 AM
This is all a bunch of BS and a way to screw all of us by the govt. We need to STOP FEMA NOW!!! Are you kidding; I have lived in Brick (on the water) for all of my 52 years of life. Cherry Quay has never flooded like this and I'm sure it will never again. This is crazy...... has anyone done the math. If we get grants from the government and all houses are raised (regardless if we were flooded or not) it will cost much more than another flood. This will kill the real estate market, force people to move, make people go into bankruptcy and loose their house, reduce tax revenue due to houses being gone; thus raising taxes for everyone else. Everyone in the country will be affected by the poor new rules. WE NEED TO STOP FEMA NOW!!!!!
Cherry Quay resident February 15, 2013 at 01:50 AM
Everyone must go to the public hearings and voice their opinions. I will be there, in Brick, with a very detailed and prepared presentation. This is totally ludicrous!! We, the tax payers, can not allow the government, which we elected and pay, to force us out of our homes. We must stop this revised flood map NOW! Start signing petitions and getting the word out to our elected officials. If they don't do something NOW to protect us we MUST vote them OUT!
tlc February 15, 2013 at 05:54 PM
cherry quay...we're with you!! Also ..everyone go to the Stop Fema Now meeting at bellybusters in toms river sat. feb.23rd..mark your calendars...enough is enough. im sick over this...we start fixing, then stop, then start, then stop...complete craziness!!! And Yes Nautical...we are losing it too!
Vincent Pischettola February 16, 2013 at 07:27 PM
https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/reevaluate-new-fema-advisory-base-flood-elevation-maps-help-us-rebuild-not-shore-not-push-us-out/tZYxj3V5
patch February 16, 2013 at 09:29 PM
you should all be concerned about fighting the NEED to raise your house,from faulted maps!good luck if you think you will ever raise a house for $30,000 unless its a bungalow! and dont hold your breath for the money.our representatives should be backing us on removing these v zones from places that have never flooded before,instead of always talking about new heights!
Kim E February 17, 2013 at 01:37 AM
Its Not $ 30,000.00 to raise the average home ,its a heck of alot more.
Kim E February 17, 2013 at 01:43 AM
Nautigal, I feel your pain too! Please join our fight for some common sense after Sandy. We are on Facebook, StopFemaNow. A web site coming soon.......
Cherry Quay resident February 18, 2013 at 02:25 PM
I agree with you "patch"; I don't want to raise my house. I think it's crazy to have to raise a house that has never flooded. The new flood maps are wrong! They (FEMA) are planning for a storm that is larger than Sandy was; moving the V zone and putting people that didn't flood into a flood zone is WRONG! I plan to fight this at the local, state and federal level. Our representatives (if you can call them that) need to step up and represent the people that vote them into office! If they can't do their job at representing us they MUST get voted out and replaced with people that actually hold the regular people in high regards.
Scott Pezarras February 18, 2013 at 02:40 PM
Dawn It calls for 1 foot above ABFE, as long as you do not exceed the height restriction you can go higher if you wish.
Scott Pezarras February 18, 2013 at 02:42 PM
Topps Until the prelim. maps come out witht he wave action study we won't know exactly where NFIP is looking to finally adopt the zones.
Cherry Quay resident February 18, 2013 at 02:54 PM
Before conceding with the latest FEMA maps (which must be changed) let's stand united and fight the situation. Don't allow the government to force people to make poor decisions. The latest FEMA maps MUST be corrected and there MUST be rules to allow people to make minor repairs (assuming they were flooded with less than 50% damage) that prevent raising the house. WHY???? This was a 200 year event and statistics show this will not happen again in anyone's life time. Let's all get together and voice our opinions and fight to get the FEMA maps and rules changed. The latest FEMA info was never told to anyone before the storm; now we are all living this nightmare. Let's get this changed before we are all homeless and bankrupt!!!!!!
Cherry Quay resident February 18, 2013 at 02:59 PM
This puts many people in limbo and their reconstruction on HOLD! Are we just going to let FEMA do what ever they want without a fight? If they want info on the wave action I can provide accurate info as I was out there (in Cherry Quay) up to my neck that Monday night of the storm. The latest V zone (on Cross Trees Road) is ludicrous! I didn't see more than a 1 foot chop (with white caps) in the lagoon.

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