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Stop FEMA Now Coming To Bayville Tonight

Meeting will be held at the Berkeley Township Elementary School, mayor says

Stop FEMA Now will hold a public meeting in Bayville tonight, almost half a year to the day when Superstorm Sandy roared ashore and decimated sections of Bayville, Pelican Island and South Seaside Park.

“Together, we can make our voices heard from Trenton to Washington,” group founder George Kasimos said. “Mayor Amato and I invite Berkeley area residents to get the facts -- and get involved -- at our meeting on April 25."

Area residents are urged to attend the meeting, which will run from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Berkeley Township Elementary School on 10 Emory Avenue in Bayville.

The event will focus on the latest information about the Federal Emergency Management Agency's controversial flood zone maps, building elevation requirements and insurance premium increases, he said.

Mayor Carmen F. Amato Jr. and Township Council President James J. Byrnes will be part of the panel.

"We're still working out the specific details on how it will run," the mayor said today. " We need a concerted effort of grassroots and established organizations, public officials, elected and appointed and affected homeowners to continue to make the case on why these zones need to be changed. There is strength in numbers."

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released the advisory maps in mid-December. It recommends elevations at which a property can survive a 100-year storm with relatively minor damage. It also maps Velocity Zones (V Zones), where properties could sustain damage from storm waves of at least three feet on top of flood waters. Recommended elevations in V Zones are higher.

Township Council members reluctantly adopted the guidelines last month, "under protest," so homeowners could qualify for FEMA Increased Cost of Compensation funds to elevate their homes. Gov. Chris Christie mandated the approval of the guidelines earlier this year.

Stop FEMA Now was created to inform Shore property owners of the hardships they face from FEMA's advisory base flood elevations and to spur Congress to amend the 2012 Biggert-Waters Act that empowers FEMA, Kasimos said.

"There’s a lot of confusion, anger and despair about FEMA’s mandates,” he said. “The bureaucrats have admitted their advisory maps have mistakes, but they can’t be appealed until late summer.  That puts the overreaching home-raising height requirements into question.  Flood victims like me, and anyone in the 18 percent of America under FEMA’s jurisdiction, need accurate answers before we decide how to, or if to rebuild."

Nearly 40 percent of Berkeley's waterfront areas are currently in the V zone, which Amato has said is ludicrous.

"We're  proud to partner with Stop Fema Now and our local organizations: Berkeley Shores Homeowners' and Civic Organization and the Berkeley Township Taxpayers Coalition to work together on this issue," he said.

Kasimos pointed out that flood insurance will cost as much as $31,000 per year for homes in flood zones,  which could mean mass abandonment of homes and foreclosures in New Jersey.

“FEMA has already lowered our property values with its fuzzy math and extreme requirements,” he said.  “FEMA has damaged the shore more than Sandy did. Our movement is growing as people realize the harm FEMA has done.”

The citizens’ group is expanding its reach along the Jersey Shore and has already held meetings in Brick, Toms River, Ventor and Atlantic City.

The citizens’ organization has details about its mission at www.Facebook.com/StopFemaNow.  Its website is www.StopFemaNow.com and its Twitter account is #StopFe

Fight Club April 10, 2013 at 06:37 PM
I would not trust Amato as far as you can throw him. Just another statist who takes from those who produce. Anarcho-Capitalism
anonymous April 10, 2013 at 07:39 PM
They dont care about you, your children or your homes they will try to buy you out before helping you. The dune project is huge and much easier then helping you. Get off your knees peaple and please do something they are afraid of take your message to the streets the weather is getting nicer hold your stopfemanow meetings outside on public property with plenty of traffic passing by. Stop inviting the politicians to your meeting they take control and silence the peaple. I saw the meetings on youtube the idea is great and all of you do care but they are not for the peaple by the peaple its more like a FAQ forum with the enemy running the show. Get the message out to the public. Torrist time is coming audience is on the way --Protest--civil noncomplience--civil disobedeince that is what they fear the most use your 1st amd rights Lets start to be the sqeeky wheel Rules for peaceful protest are in vid below please watch http://youtu.be/PvKhzgsTpCE
HelpYourself April 11, 2013 at 01:35 PM
"The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'" - Ronald Reagan Arm yourselves with knowledge, then be active, get the media on your side or you all will lose.
Squandered Youth April 11, 2013 at 03:02 PM
To be able to argue from facts, StopFEMANow should collect data on premium increases that is more specific than the general tables FEMA has put out. Some have received conditional quotes from insurers, for example, "your premium is now $1000 at -2 BFE. If under the new maps your elevation goes to -4 BFE, your premium would be $7000." It would be good to have a place to share that information anonymously. The same is true of house-elevation cost estimates. Someone tried to start a thread on Patch of that data, but it died out. It would REALLY help to have one member of Congress firmly on board, as they can request data that would strengthen our arguments. The New York Times ran a "retreat from the beach" piece that drew hundreds of comments that ran 50-1 against what would be our position. The Star Ledger ran a story about a poll in which 53% of people in NJ saw nothing wrong with forcing people to raise existing homes. To get the support we need to achieve the changes we need, we have to be able to present information that will make it clear what the cost of what FEMA wants will be, the number of people that will be hurt - and how these people being hurt will hurt the rest of the public.
foggyworld April 11, 2013 at 04:45 PM
I was at the very first, tiny StopFemaNow meeting & have ever since been involved. This really is a group of just normal citizens and it is led by an amazing man that turned that initial group of 20 people into one that has hundreds of members and he did it in three weeks time! George is a natural leader and has his eyes focused on the one issue that the Back Bay residents must spend time and energy on right now. THE goal is to remove the oppressive Zone V rating that Fema based on outdated information and poor investigation of our neighborhoods after the storm, quickly decided to paint all of us with one brush. It's good to ask the politicians because many of them are uninformed as to just how bad things are and most have no background in construction issues. They see property as revenue streams and often seem to want us out so that skinny McMansions will replace us and pay ever higher obscene taxes. Do your protest thing and I am for one boycotting any appearance made by our Governor who talks out of both sides of his mouth but I am begging my fellow Berkeley Township neighbors to attend this meeting and make yourself be heard. StopFemaNow is the only group I have found that is run by a regular guy who won't make a penny out of his efforts. He simply wants to go home and cannot afford to pay for hoisting his house and raising it to 13'. And he wants that for all of us and has donated more energy than any politician to getting us some help. Please attend.
foggyworld April 11, 2013 at 10:06 PM
Hope you will come to the meeting and if you can volunteer to do some of that data collection that would just be wonderful.
George Kasimos April 11, 2013 at 11:02 PM
Here are the New Rates for flood insurance premiums. Here is the Sheet for the new Flood insurance premiums. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=120877181416492&set=a.120877081416502.21998.120198111484399&type=3&theater www.facebook.com/StopFemaNow www.StopFemaNow.com
Martin April 12, 2013 at 12:25 AM
FEMA's propaganda shows the cost of a foundation to be $30,000 (6 feet above the BFE). Everyone I know who's gotten real-world estimates says it would cost $50,000 to $150,000 to raise each house. And FEMA makes it sound wonderful that even after that huge expense, insurance premiums will be "only" to $3,500 per year! Do you have an extra $300 a month to pay that -- for years to come? StopFemaNow.com
Squandered Youth April 12, 2013 at 01:58 AM
The table that FEMA has provided is off it's propaganda to make house-raising look cost effective (you have to love the smiley faces). It takes a very extreme set of assumptions for a house at -4 BFE to have a $31k premium. It probably has to be a single-story on a slab, probably in a V zone, in a town with the worst possible rating for municipal flood control measures. Most NJ towns are rated better. It would also be helpful to have data points other than just -4 BFE. I am concerned that lots of people see the $31k figure and give up, figuring "even if we cut in in half, I'm still screwed so why try?" If premiums are "only" $8k (still enough to price most people out) more people might see cutting that in half something to fight about. Can there be a page on the StopFEMAnow website for people to post reliable information on this?
Sue April 12, 2013 at 12:08 PM
That's is why Berkeley home owners have to fight the error-filled maps, extra-high elevation mandates and exorbitant annual premiums -- by getting the truth at the April 25th meeting.
CDA Roofing and House Raising April 13, 2013 at 11:48 AM
CDA Roofing and House Raising would be more than happy to supply anyone with a free estimate on the cost of raising a home. We are a local contractor based in Brick, NJ. We have been to several town hall meetings and understand the frustration and confusion with raising homes. We are a turnkey operation and would be more than happy to set up a town hall meeting in any community that wants clarification on the subject. You can visit us at www.njroofingandhouseraising.com or contact us at 732-475-6157 for additional information. Our prices have remained the same before during and after the storm. Lets keep our local economy local and work together on rebuilding the Jersey Shore.
Beachlover April 13, 2013 at 12:18 PM
How about a balanced approach that says some places should not be rebuilt, some places need to raised and some locations can be protected? If you've been to Sea Bright or Union Beach you know some places cannot be protected.
Martin April 13, 2013 at 02:10 PM
"Balanced" isn't in FEMA's vocabularly. Their motto: Sock it to everybody so our Katrina debt will be bailed out by those "wealthy" Northerners. That's why we have to join together to fight the overkill requirements and exorbitant costs! StopFemaNow.com
foggyworld April 25, 2013 at 11:14 AM
That doesn't quite work out fairly. The area I am in is one of the older developed parts of Bayville and those houses tended to be built on the ground level. Houses built during the last 20 years or so have been built on 9' and 10' pilings and all of them came through the storm dry. Why should those who at the time were described as "overbuilders" be tossed out of their homes for way exceeding the town's then building codes? We did our best and shouldn't be punished for it.
foggyworld April 25, 2013 at 11:25 AM
I agree that "Balanced" isn't in any part of Fema. All houses in one area are brushed with the same brush even though all houses were not built the same way nor did they fare the same fate due to Sandy. The Fema contracted inspector who looked at our house spent all of three minutes here and obviously was being paid by the number of houses he inspected in a day. I didn't see his work for several months and was amazed that he had made up half of the answers in Fema's form's blanks. So that approach alone polluted Fema's data to an extent we will never know. The Governor gave FEMA powers that were his to hold onto and as a result NJ is being hit the hardest with insane rules. We live on a back bay - not on the ocean and that was a franken-storm that based on the oldest house in our neighborhood (1934) never hit this area and probably won't do so again for hundreds of years. There's reasonable and there is insane and it's time we let those many representatives who voted for Biggert-Waters know they may soon have to find new employment if they don't get this toned down. It's up to us to hold them accountable whether we like them or not. Fema, by the way, will not give us "credit" for the 25' dune project so we won't even see mitigation points for some of the work that is and will be done. They seem to want the middle class out of here. It's time for the Governor to get serious and do more than make speeches.
Jack Jampel April 25, 2013 at 11:47 AM
StopFemaNow is a great organization and the more of these types organizations the better for our efforts. Also, Saveourcommunities2013 is also a grassroots organization that is also run by someone who is just trying to help the people with no personal agenda. It is not accurate to say that we have to wait until late August to appeal the FEMA maps. In fact Ron has gained tremendous momentum through the Saveourcommunities2013 organizations call-a-thons, that resulted with Senators meeting with FEMA who have now agreed to provide townships the software that they used to allow for early appeals. Brick township has begun the process. Any other townships interested in learning more about what can be done now should contact Saveourcommunities2013.
Jack Jampel April 25, 2013 at 11:51 AM
I totally agree and have the same concerns as Squandered Youth. Information provided should try to remain as accurate and complete as possible since critical decisions are being made by homeowners based off of this information.
Jack Jampel April 25, 2013 at 11:55 AM
I totally understand the frustration but I dont believe FEMA has ever said that it will cost $30k to raise your home. The 30k is what you are eligible to receive under ICC and unfortunately is no where close to covering the entire cost. No one believes it will cost only 30k to raise their home.
George Browne April 25, 2013 at 12:25 PM
We need a comprehensive strategy to manage the coast. You are right. Some places should not be rebuilt, in some places we should retreat back from the ocean to build natural dunes and protect other homes and in some places we just need repairs to the dunes. What we don't need is this one size fits all - let's build dunes everywhere approach. Last week the state allowed Atlantic City to cut their dune grass and will probably allow them to reduce the height of their dunes. Other towns don't want dunes that block their view. We need a coordinated approach - not one town does this and the next town does something else. The next storm surge will not respect the borders between towns.
George Kasimos April 25, 2013 at 01:01 PM
Helpyourself, "Arm yourselves with knowledge, then be ACTIVE, get the media on your side or you will lose" You HIT all points. Thank you for being ACTIVE. We are working on getting the knowledge out to the residents. We will have media at this meeting. We are linking up with groups in NY and Louisiana. This is a NATIONAL issue. www.facebook.comStopFemaNow
0BR April 25, 2013 at 02:52 PM
www.facebook.comStopFemaNow I have been to all of the local and A.C. meetings since we overcrowded a store on Fisher Blvd. in the pouring rain. We were asked to leave due to fire codes. But that didn't stop him. The next meeting was bigger and better. George works his butt of to make people aware. Every meeting I go to there are still people asking ''how do I find my ABFE?'' Wake up folks! There is a train headed for us. GO TO THE MEETING TONIGHT!!
Rob April 25, 2013 at 04:47 PM
You are right the Gov has sold us down the river and he will never be able to swim back up. We are all finished.
Joe Mama April 26, 2013 at 05:21 PM
While it may be fun to place blame elsewhere and make this a north vs south thing, everyone, no matter where they live in the US will have to pay increased premiums for flood insurance. The National Flood Insurance Program has been operating at a loss for years and congress decided it has to become self-sustaining. That's just a hard truth.
0BR April 26, 2013 at 10:42 PM
Joe. The U.S. Government has been operating at a loss too. Are you ready to pay THAT bill??

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