Just hours after the House approved $9.7 billion in Sandy relief, a standing-room only crowd packed into the Pinelands Regional High School, firing questions to FEMA representatives about how they will access federal monies to rebuild, and how to go about rebuilding.
Many communities in Ocean County participate in the National Flood Insurance Program, which goes through the community rating system. That means homeowners receive a 15 percent reduction on their flood insurance and are eligible for the Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) rider grant of $30,000 if their homes need to be raised.
Following the implementation of Federal Emergency Management Agency's new Advisory Base Flood Elevation maps, which will likely go into effect next September following input from communities, homeowners could see an increase in the cost of their flood insurance, if they do not comply with the suggested elevations. The new advisory maps do not contain Sandy-related data, FEMA officials said last night.
Despite the fact that many residents indicated they planned on raising their homes, many had concerns about the elevations. When a FEMA representative asked how many people planned on raising their homes, most people in attendance raised their hands.
One resident said the $30,000 that he would receive under the ICC rider "is not going to get the job done" to comply. Dozens of people in attendance at the meeting clapped in agreement.
Still another resident in attendance spoke of the confusion between the suggestions in the advisory maps, and local zoning ordinances.
"If I raise my house to the suggested level, I will be over the township's zoning height restrictions, what do I do then?" the woman asked.
Several Little Egg officials, who were in attendance of the meeting, noted that questions like those were the very reason for last night's meeting - so that everyone could be on the same page. Little Egg officials recently introduced an ordinance to adopt the maps, but the ordinance has yet to go to a second reading and vote.
FEMA officials urged residents to contact FEMA o that questions can be handled on an individual basis. They also noted that residents can visit this interactive map for advisory elevation levels.