“Chickie” Mazzella looked around the gutted interior of his Jeri Ann home for perhaps the last time on Sunday.
At the one year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, his Beach Haven West “dream house” has turned into a “nightmare” due in part to the bureaucracy and regulations imposed by his bank, insurance company and Federal Emergency Management Agency, he said.
“The bank pretty much left me no choice,” said Mazzella, whose first name is Charles. “I either had to sell or they were going to foreclose,” he said.
So less than three years after purchasing the property he hoped to see his children and grandchildren enjoy for years to come, he is now about to sell the lagoon front Cape Cod in a short sale.
The bank will receive all funds from the purchase price, minus commissions and fees, and then release Mazzella from his mortgage agreement. The sale price is far below what he still owes and the short sale will leave him with nothing from his investment and affect his credit rating for a few years. But it will do far less damage than having a foreclosure in his credit history, said Mazzella.
Mazzella said he had tried to renegotiate his current mortgage, with no success.
“I then asked if I could use the insurance funds that went directly to the bank to raise or knock down my house," he said. "I even said I'd take out a new mortgage for a higher amount to build a brand new house and they still said, ‘No.’”
He was told he could only use the insurance money to return the house to “pre-storm” conditions. The conditions to rebuild have changed.
Mazzella said he now needed to raise the house to get a local Certificate of Occupancy and to qualify for additional funds from FEMA for Increased Compliance (ICC) due to his flood zone rating and the home being declared “substantially damaged” (more than 50% of the assessed value would be needed for the cost of repairs).
But the FEMA money was not available until he actually began the work and incurred the costs of raising the property, he said.
"In the end, selling was the lesser of two evils,"
He hasn't given up on his dream of a Jersey Shore get away for himself and family.
"Next time, I going to get small condo on a second floor,” he said with a smile."
Around Mazzella's property, there were other properties under going drastic changes. Two new homes on pilings were under construction across the lagoon from Mazzella's and two lots that had recently sold were being cleared across the street.
All around Beach Haven West you can now see new house pilings going in and homes both modular and stick frame going up.
In some cases, Sandy
was forgiving or owners decided to simply repair what damage there was and not
raise up risking future damage and certain higher insurance premiums .
That is the case with the family who owns the house next to Mazzella's and their son, who lives across the lagoon on Mark Drive. Both homes are close to ground level Cape Cods similar to Mazzella’s
"We’ll now have the oldest houses in the nicest new neighborhood," said the son, who owns a local construction company and is doing most of the repairs himself.You can also add you own Sandy stories to our site in the comments section at http://barnegat-manahawkin.patch.com/groups/editors-picks/p/send-us-your-photos-hurricane-sandy-b066...