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New FEMA Flood Maps Could Be As Devastating As Superstorm Sandy, Township Officials Say

Suggested elevations don't accurately reflect the risk, Mayor Carmen F. Amato Jr. says

Berkeley officials will travel to Trenton on Wednesday, to protest the new FEMA advisory base flood elevations Township Council President James J. Byrnes describes as "nuts."

"This is just crazy," Byrnes said at the Feb. 11 Township Council meeting. "You get a little water in your house, all of a sudden you're in a V zone."

Berkeley officials have yet to approve the suggested elevations -introduced by FEMA in December after Superstorm Sandy and mandated by Gov. Chris Christie two weeks ago.

"We have over 4,000 waterfront homeowners," Mayor Carmen F. Amato Jr. said. "Over 40 percent will be affected one way or another. We don't agree with them. We don't want to have lagoon homes in Bayville that would be in the same flood zone as the Outer Banks. It just doesn't make sense."

Amato, Byrnes and township professionals will meet Wednesday with FEMA and state officials in Trenton to protest the advisory base flood elevations, also known as ABFEs.

Amato and Byrnes are particularly concerned about homeowners whose houses were not more than 50 percent damaged by Sandy, which makes them ineligible for Increased Cost of Compensation funds to elevate their homes.

Amato said he fields "dozens" of calls from residents every day.

"They don't know what to do," he said. "The problem we have are homeowners who don't have the 50 percent damage. They don't have the means to raise their homes or pay $30,000. They say, 'I'm going to have to walk away.' That's not a good situation."

The ICC funds are only for homeowners with more than 50 percent damage, who could receive up to $30,000 to elevate their homes.

Meanwhile, the township will lose revenue in lost ratables and late payments on taxes.

"We gotta get these homes back on the tax rolls," Byrnes said. "This is crazy. I think people are waiting for the FEMA god to drop money into their houses. It's not going to happen."

Township Councilman John Bacchione lives in a bi-level lagoon home in Bayville. His house made it through Sandy with minimal damage.

"With the proposed flood maps, I'm going to have to raise my house," Bacchione said. "If I don't, my flood insurance will be $32,000 a year."

The Glen Cove, Good Luck Point, South Seaside Park and Toms River Shores sections of the township were hit hard by Sandy, which roared into Ocean County on Oct. 29.

Byrnes - who lost his Dogwood Drive home in the storm - described a recent night on a lonely street in Glen Cove.

"There's one light on," he said. "I don't know what people are going to do. This is nuts. I'm going to Trenton on Wednesday."

"We don't think these maps accurately describe the risk," Amato said. "There was no rhyme or reason, the way they came up with these maps."

Karen M February 14, 2013 at 01:57 AM
I am waiting on some estimates, one from Maryland, one from florida and one from PA, so as soon as I get the estimates I will post back and let you know, keep a look out for them. I will give you an idea of the pricing. I have to laugh because the first company just called me today to ask me about the estimate i received and i told her that "I'm still picking myself up off the floor" she didn't get my sense of humor. Then she's like, oh you have a big house and I'm like, no a cape 36x30 with a two story bump out, and she's like, oh, ok let me look at it. I don't know, maybe they think that people are stupid or desperate and that they will take whatever price is given to them, NOT. Hopefully in the next couple of days I will have the estimates.
impeach1 February 14, 2013 at 10:32 PM
And while we are at it, how about the Seaside Park police lightening up a little bit when I go to repair my home in South Seaside Park. Been stopped 5 times since the storm, checking to see if I am pulling copper out of houses, exceeding speed limit by 5 mph(okay I got it), checking my license plate, and so forth. I have the BT sticker in the window so they know I live there. C'mon, do they need revenue that bad? I tell my contractors to drive the straight and narrow, stick to the the speed limit,etc. Heck, one guy got a ticket because he didnt use his blinker. I mean, cmon. What are the state police doing, saw three today in the middle of the island or sitting at the marina. All day. Who is footing the bill for that?
foggyworld February 14, 2013 at 10:43 PM
I'm on ten foot pilings in a house built to North Carolina Outer Banks codes and we made it through the storm and no red sticker at all. Yet we who did everything possible known to the American Association of Architects now are classified as a V with flood insurance future costs going to break us. You can't win with these folks and if we don't fight right this minute, the Middle Class will be shoved out of the NJ shore. I voted for Christie but he has given his problems to fema who has not got our interests at heart and he seems to be off campaigning to be President and will be able to blame the Sandy disaster on the feds - if we let him. Please start screaming now and write emails to any and every agency and politician you can think of. This isn't going to end with just the houses and areas affected. As we become V rated homes, Fema will start to push inland for miles and begin to insist on pilings and much higher or new and much higher flood insurance premiums which don't even pay off. Loans are all one can get. If you live inland a mile or more, don't be complacent because you, too, will be caught up in this madness. A shallow Bay is not an Ocean!
proud February 17, 2013 at 08:15 PM
It's too bad that Mayor David Most and the Lacey Township Committee don't follow the example of their neighbors to the north and stand up for their constituents being financially exploited by the upcoming map revisions. They must realize the ripple effect that will occur when property owners abandon. www.stopfema.now
kt9874 May 18, 2013 at 11:05 PM
Karen, If you don't mind me asking, who did you contact for the soil boring test? We are in Beach Haven West and are in the process of replacing and raising our entire foundation (from Sandy's wrath) and a soil test is required. Any info. you can provide would be greatly appreciated! Good luck with your repairs! You are not alone! I wish you and Rob - Broke in Bayville - the very best.

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