Township Officials Blast New FEMA Advisory Flood Elevation Guidelines, Reimbursement Delays

Amato, council members say suggested elevations inappropriate in some areas of town

No way.

That pretty much sums up the reaction of Mayor Carmen F. Amato Jr. and some Township Council members to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's recently-released advisory base flood elevations guidelines.

"Hopefully FEMA will reduce the V zones to A zones," Amato said. "We had a storm that is one in 300 years. It's not fair to force our residents to rebuild to V zones, or face astronomical flood insurance costs. We are going to continue to voice our opposition."

"To take a house that got two feet of water and have to raise it, slide it over, put pilings underneath, slide it back - that's a $50,000 hit," Council President James J. Byrnes said.

Amato and Byrnes object to some sections of Berkeley Shores, Glen Cove and South Seaside Park being tagged as V zones - areas that are subject to one to three-foot waves.

"To be in the same flood zone here in Berkeley Township as in the Outer Banks, I think that is very off," Amato said.

Amato was at the press conference in Seaside Heights last week when Gov. Chris Christie said the state would adopt the advisory base flood guidelines now, so the rebuilding could begin.

"I know he's not happy with the maps," Amato said of Christie. "We are going to make sure our voices are heard."

Clew Court resident Bob Kaiser also questioned the guidelines. His lagoon home did not take on water during the storm.

"A full moon, high tide, two storms that pulled that storm in," he said. "What's the chance of that every happening again in our lifetimes?"

The Township Council recently adopted an ordinance approving more than $6 million in emergency appropriations to deal with damage costs from Superstorm Sandy. The paperwork was filed and Amato expected at least 75 percent reimbursement and hopes for 90 percent.

"We don't really have a lot of faith in when we will see that money," Amato said at the Jan. 28 Township Council meeting.

How much has Berkeley received so far?

"Not a penny," Township Administrator Frederick Ebenau said after the Jan. 28 Township Council meeting. "We want to try and get as much of that back as possible, to lessen the burden of the $6 million on our homeowners."

Both Amato and Township Council President James J. Byrnes also said they had talked to many homeowners who still have not received any flood insurance payments.

"I don't know who is getting the money," Amato said. "That's a travesty. It's a travesty. We've got to get the money to the people. This is the United States of America, for crying out loud. We will continue to beat the drums."

"It's been three months and nobody has really settled with their flood insurance yet," said Byrnes, who lost his Glen Cove home to Sandy. "It's crazy."

Laci January 29, 2013 at 05:41 AM
Glad Berkeley township officials are making their voices known especially after not even receiving 1 penny. Maybe Toms River will follow suit?.
Gale Morris January 29, 2013 at 11:59 AM
Berkeley township has the right idea and I applaud them for trying to do right by their residents.
Judys 15 January 29, 2013 at 12:27 PM
Here's a good one. My home on Cedar Run Rd. took on zero floodwater and will be receiving zero reimbursement. This new map puts my house in Zone V. It also places my property about 10 lots away from where it actually is... safely snuggled in Zone A.
TerriLynn January 29, 2013 at 01:13 PM
Im happy that they are finally voicing their opinions and standing up for us but why now all of a sudden? Ladt week they said whatever zone we are in now is the zone we are in. We have to deal with it and raise our homes so we arent hit with high insurance costs.Again im happy they are finally standing up for us but it seems like another delay to me.... 
Chief Wahoo January 29, 2013 at 01:20 PM
Little late Amato !!! That's what happens when you now down to the fat liar in Trenton. How did it feel when he stuck the knife in your back ? Et Tu Christie ?
Chief Wahoo January 29, 2013 at 01:21 PM
Property taxes anyone ? Anywhere ? Want to talk about property taxes? Or is that taboo subject ???
Floodgate January 29, 2013 at 01:46 PM
You can have your property taxes reassessed after Fema throws three real estate market in the garbage with their new rates .
Poindexter McSmash January 29, 2013 at 01:54 PM
All of this is on the assumption that there will be more tremendous storms coming any day, and wipe out the whole shure! What if there are no storms for 50 years? Then the government will be laughing at us tax paying cattle...
Jim Fulcomer January 29, 2013 at 01:57 PM
JIM FULCOMER I urge everyone to send letters to Governor Christie urging him to modify his executive order and to our elected federal officials calling on them to persuade the federal bureaucrats to withdraw their advisory map until they have made appropriate corrections lot by lot. They also should be urged in our letters to modify their outrageous flood insurance increases. If the governor's executive order is allowed to stand in its presence form and the proposed policies for flood insurance are implemented, the maritime areas of Ocean County will be devastated and the taxpayers in the non-maritime areas of Berkeley Township will suffer.
john January 29, 2013 at 04:11 PM
gonna be costly living in nj shore communities going forward.... it s either pay forward or pay back on this type disaster, and they ll be paying back for decades.
Floodgate January 29, 2013 at 04:20 PM
Is Syria a shore town in NJ ? http://m.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/01/29/president-obama-announces-additional-humanitarian-aid-syrian-people
Peter M. Clausen III January 29, 2013 at 04:49 PM
I sent letter, emails to Christie and the Division of Banking and Insurance and never heard a word. So much for elected officials. Welcome to the Peoples State of new jersey (read Atlas Shrugged).
ttd January 29, 2013 at 05:31 PM
I want to commend Mayor Amato for standing up to the bureaucrats in Washington for these outrageous advisory maps. Mayor Amato has had several seminars and informational sessions with regard to Sandy which I have attended. He has shown tremendous leadership during these difficult times. Thank you Mayor Amato!
James Dale January 29, 2013 at 05:37 PM
Jim Dale If the maps identify Berkeley Shores as getting 1 - 3 foot waves and re-zone and force all residents in this area to pay astronomical insurance rates, it tells me that FEMA thinks that those folks (meaning me) can afford to pay such inflated rates to recover the losses from Katrina as well. My house is at 9 feet above mean high tide since it was built and I did not get any water inside my house. My insulation layer in the crawl space missed the water by 2 inches. Sounds like FEMA is looking for deep pockets. I suggest they look elsewhere.
Rob January 29, 2013 at 07:11 PM
Call the gov office 609-292-6000
angel January 29, 2013 at 11:11 PM
oh boy
angel January 29, 2013 at 11:15 PM
Jim. In all due respect, its a little closer to an $80,000 to disconnect mechanicals, raise the house, move the house, put in helicoils,or pilings(helicoils are 50%more),move house back, put house down, reconnect mechanicals, rebuild stairs, decks and more. 80k.
jerseyswamps January 30, 2013 at 08:32 AM
That's assuming you have room to move the house.
angel January 30, 2013 at 01:45 PM
oh boy. drive down the bay in seaside park, now that is a v zone. not me 5 houses from the bay with mega mansions blocking my house
D January 30, 2013 at 02:14 PM
Just to be clear guys.... House can be raised high enough to drive helicoils under the house build the foundation and then set it back down
jerseyswamps January 30, 2013 at 03:51 PM
Assuming the soil will accept helicons. I was advised borings will have to be taken and if the soil is not good enough then it has to be pilings. Which in many cases means no where to move the home that had 2 inches of water and is now in a "V" zone. Which means the house has to be destroyed. Which makes no sense. But then again we talking about the federal government. So I guess they don't see a problem.
JHR January 31, 2013 at 02:06 AM
Nobody wins here ! We should all move out of new jersey like rats leaving a sinking ship "State" That would leave the state with no tax payers .
foggyworld February 07, 2013 at 06:38 AM
Is there a reason the Mayor and the Town Council President omitted Good Luck Point in their discussion? Well over a hundred people want to know.
foggyworld February 07, 2013 at 06:49 AM
Christie has a very sneaky email set up. You go to his site and must select one of the not very many subjects listed. Instead of your email going to Christie, it is automatically farmed out to the relevant department. Not helpful if you are trying to communicate with the Governor about the failings of that department. Theoretically you may use up some stationary and a 46 cent stamp and write to his office but I question whether he ever sees that stuff either. And he has a phone number which I am sure our tax dollars are used to fund a bunch of people who speak on his behalf. Even the President and Queen Elizabeth are available by email but our on-top-of-everything Governor is one of the more difficult human beings to contact. I suppose if you have enough dough you can attempt to get near him if you go to one of those high priced fund raising dinners. Even if he doesn't read our emails it would be a good deal more assuring if we were even falsely led to believe that he cares enough about us to read our messages and maybe occasionally answer some of us who dare to ask questions. Bad PR for a man who is up for re-election
foggyworld February 07, 2013 at 06:51 AM
He doesn't actually take your calls. See above.
foggyworld February 07, 2013 at 06:54 AM
Doing this stuff after the fact is very expensive and can seriously damage the structural integrity of the house. It's a last resort approach that some folks may have to take but it is serious business.


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