Tough Decisions Ahead For Flood-Stricken Berkeley Township Residents

New FEMA Advisory-Based Flood Maps To Debut Next Week, Official Says

Demolition versus elevation?

Berkeley residents whose homes were ravaged by Hurricane Sandy may have a better idea of where they stand after the township determines the extent of the damage.

"Substantially damaged means the cost to make your necessary repairs will meet or exceed 50 percent of the value of the structure," according to the township website. "In Berkeley Township, we use the equalized assessed value to make that determination."

For example, a house assessed at $50,000 that has been damaged by flood, wind, fire, etc. would be considered "substantially damaged" if repairs total more than $24,999.99, the website states.

If the structure is more than 50 percent substantially damaged or repetitively damaged, the homeowner would be eligible for Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) coverage, which helps pay for the cost of complying with state or community floodplain management laws or ordinances from a flood event.

ICC coverage will help pay for the cost to elevate, flood-proof, demolish or relocate the building up to a maximum benefit of $30,000, according to the FEMA handbook "Answers to Questions About The NFIP."

Township Flood Mitigation Officer Ray Lalaberti and representatives from the township's engineering department will inspect each home and determine if it has been substantially damaged.

Substantially damaged homes located in a flood zone must be retrofitted to meet current flood ordinances and construction codes, the township website states.

Remedies may include:

• Elevating the dwelling

• Raising the crawl space

• Eliminating basements

• Installation of flood vents

• Elevating mechanical devices like hot water heaters and furnaces

New flood elevations coming

FEMA is also expected to release new advisory-based flood elevations next week, Deborah L. Farmer, FEMA Hazard Mitigation Insurance Specialist said. Farmer made the announcement recently at a "Town Hall" meeting for members of the Berkeley Shores Homeowners Association at H & M Potter School.

"We are in the process of issuing advisory-based flood elevations," she said. "We have most of the mapping done. What I can tell you is they are coming. If the community does adopt the new elevations, you have to comply."

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is only available in participating communities. Berkeley Township is a participating community.

The maps help property owners determine if they are in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA).

Determining damages

The term "cost to repair" includes the costs of all work to restore a damaged building to its pre-damage condition, the township website states.

"The determination is made assuming that you must hire someone to complete your repairs," according to the website. "If you are executing repairs yourself, or happen to have a spare hot water heater at your disposal, no credit is given for decreased cost."

The township has waived any fees associated with permits and inspections, but permits are still required.

A flood elevation certificate will be required for any permit application in a flood zone.

The following information is required:

• A list of building damages (without contents) accompanied by an estimated cost of repairs

• An estimate of the square footage of the inundated area, the depth of floodwater, and the floors affected, for example a crawlspace, finished basement, unfinished basement, first floor or sunken living area.

The township website has a wealth of storm-related information at twp.berkeley.nj.us/

Dave Sleeper December 04, 2012 at 09:07 AM
a house assessed at $50,000 ? On what planet?
Natty Bumppo December 04, 2012 at 01:47 PM
And the Berkeley Mayor was no where to be found during and after the Hurricane. Why was that?
brokeninbayville December 04, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Believe it or not, I do know of a house that is slightly above the $50,000. You're right Chief, that pain has only just begun. Some of us have to rebuild and will have 2 mortgages and new tax rates......very scary
Poindexter McSmash December 04, 2012 at 04:06 PM
How many "local" insurance companies went bankrupt? Why do we need insurance if the govenment has to pay the bill? Or should I say our taxes!
no_money_left December 04, 2012 at 09:19 PM
interesting dilema with this 50% rule. Glen Cove tax assessd values have been manipulated so that most of the value is in the land.. all of course as a result of a few comp sales used during the reassessment years ago. From first hand knowledge of my past tax appeals.. the tax assessor has continued to reduce the value of the structure rather than the land value, so as to not affect all his land calculations for the area. Most houses in Glen Cove will easlily exceed the 50% rule.


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