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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."

jerseyswamps February 12, 2013 at 10:06 AM
I need to know who and how it is determined a home is 51% damaged. I've read here and heard it is 51% of assessed value of the improvements on a property. Meaning just the house, not land. I also read and hear it is 51% of the replacement costs of the structure. That is usually a big difference. Then who decides? How it is discovered and how is it enforced? Does your flood and wind insurance report payouts to the town? Is there a difference if there is a mortgage or not? I've read a lot of opinions. Where can I get facts?
notasellout February 12, 2013 at 10:44 AM
@ Swamps, The determination is made by the local officials in many towns. For instance in Toms River, the Engineering Department makes the determination based on you surrendering the adjuster reports from both your flood and homeowners claims or two estimates. They will not issue any permits unless you give them that information. It takes two weeks for them to review the paper work and then THEY determine how much damage you have based on the reports and the market value of the repairs in dollars. Remember, these towns are starved for money and will do anything to get their hands on it. In the end, they will side for their own benefit. If this natural disaster exposed anything, it's the incompetence in leadership and financial disaster these towns have been in for a very long time.
Floodgate February 12, 2013 at 10:57 AM
Go Berkeley! Why the hell isn't brick, point pleasant, Toms river and the other Towns going with them? They should rent a bus.....
seaglass gal February 12, 2013 at 11:08 AM
The process is flawed, although my property is mapped in the A zone, my home in the middle of a block shows it is in a V zone when I put the address in at the Fema site. All my neighbors are in the A Zone. Township says tell Fema, Fema says tell your township. Thanks GovChristie , I love ya but this map needs help I cannot survive the "FEMACANE
bobby s February 12, 2013 at 12:14 PM
I'm in the same "sinking boat". No damage and being forced to raise my home without ICC funds. No wait, I'm not being forced, I can leave the house as is and pay $30k plus in flood premiums and have no resale value. Well let me apply for the low interest SBA loan, small problem it is a secondary residence.
Karen M February 12, 2013 at 12:26 PM
@jersey swamps, go to your town and they will give you a piece of paper with the assessed value of just your structure. You take that amount and if the cost of your damages exceeds 51% of that amount then you can qualify for the ICC. This is a rider that is included in your flood insurance policy. The town will take your proof of loss from the adjuster or an estimate from a licsensed contractor from NJ. Either one will do. The town will then determine if you are 51% damaged and you fill out a small form to give to your insurance company. When you file the ICC, you have 4 years to complete the raise. FYI, get estimates because you will be in for a shock, because $30,000 won't cover the cost of it. I received an estimate for over $75,000, although, another house raiseer told me that was high, but still. even at $50,000, its still too much. Who's going to pay the other $20,000?
Chief Wahoo February 12, 2013 at 12:55 PM
Your man Christie didn't have your backs. Plus this theft of wealth , was going to happen , even if Sandy never smashed Jersey Shore. Where were all public officials when Maxine Waters decided she was going to steal white folks money. No one was paying attention and doing their jobs as usual. Just cashing pay checks and pensions. The only answer is not to worry about rateables. That's why you cannot send public leeches to Trenton, who want the status quo to remain. You need to send people with guts and who refuse to send one more of their hard earned and dwindling dollars. We need a RESET. Anarcho-Capitalism
brokeninbayville February 12, 2013 at 01:47 PM
Who have you used for raising the house quotes?
Rob February 12, 2013 at 02:16 PM
Hay Seaglass gal I am in the same boat. I have six blocks of homes between my home and the bay that is 12 rows of houses that are 30 feet high and guess what . How in the hell can a High V wave hit my house and all these homes over a hundred are in the new A zone . Many of them had a lot of damaged and still working on their homes.I had min damage just water around the property nothing in my home and they have me in the V zone. I will not raise my house and rent it to section 8 if this is what will become of these properties and I am sure the neigbors won't like that, they all complain but they do not show up at the town meetings to let their voice heard. It was just like the reassesament , they didn't come until it went into effect . They new about it 18 mounths in advanced and did nothing just like they predict it will take 18 months for these maps to go into effect, then they will come to the meetings like a bunch of cry babies. I
Jon Q. Public February 12, 2013 at 02:28 PM
Most people are not aware that this (the FEMA maps) was in the making prior to Sandy hitting. FEMA, the State and your own Local governments were made aware of this before the storm. No one said a word about it because of elections and they figured Christie wouldn't let it happen. They all knew before! Do your research and you'll find out.
Rob February 12, 2013 at 02:36 PM
Brokenin bayville I had est 100,000 here in berkeley shores. It is not true when you hear all the low est. When you raise your house it is now in a higher wind zone. Your house was not built for the new heights and the first cat 1 or 2 your roof may blow off. When this happens you will wish you had the minor flooding that many people had because it is much easier to put your house back together. Before you make any moves if you still wanmt to go forward you should find out if the fema maps will be rolled back in some areas.
Chief Wahoo February 12, 2013 at 03:00 PM
No Byrnes you do not get a little water in your house and your in the V Zone. You are in the V zone in July and you got a little water in your house in October. AFTER you were already placed in V Zone !!! Stop lying and blaming Sandy. Sandy actually made people much more aware SOONER of the real theft that was going to happen. If you do not understand this , you should get out of the way. Town , county and state. Layers and layers and layers of overpaid lazy burecrats and no one said a word about the real super storm heading the people's way. FEMA MAPS.
gary bodeep February 12, 2013 at 03:58 PM
bowman im definately screwed . applied for fema loan turned down for low income,how much can you make at 72 years of age,my home is destroyed ?
grace February 12, 2013 at 05:55 PM
that is a terrific idea flood gate!!
grace February 12, 2013 at 05:59 PM
this is why the forced raising is ridiculous........i say if you had not over the 51 % damage you dont have to do it! if the house has to be demolished then its fine for the new zones to be enforced... seems illegal idk
grace February 12, 2013 at 06:01 PM
knock it down and sell the land?
jerseyswamps February 12, 2013 at 08:25 PM
Thanks sellout and K., I should have mentioned I am not interested in lifting it and the 30K. It will lead to too many other issues. I'm trying to avoid someone saying since I am over 51% I MUST now comply with all current codes rather than just keeping what I have now. I want to REPAIR my place. Between flood and wind damage I'm close to 51% of ASSESSED value.
bobby s February 12, 2013 at 08:33 PM
@jerseyswamps--Unfortunately you must comply with the new flood elevations (once the are finalized) if your home was damaged 51% or if was damaged 0%. It would make no sense not to apply for the ICC monies if you have 51% damage. If you do not raise your home the new flood premiums will be too expensive. Its the home owners that did not have more than 50% damage are really getting screwed.
Random Poster February 12, 2013 at 09:07 PM
i am willing to offer you $2000.00(two thousand dollars) for you destroyed structure on the lot that it sits on......
jerseyswamps February 12, 2013 at 09:49 PM
Thanks waiting, I'm actually pretty up on many of the implications of compliance and how many people are in a bind. Flood ins. is not an issue with me. Just paid off the loan and will drop the flood ins. when it goes up too much. I'm betting I will not get flooded again in my lifetime and if I do I'm repairing in such a way as to make the damage manageable. I even saw on line a construction technique for "drainable, dry-able walls". Lifting the place will likely require me to up grade the entire house to fire rated siding and windows because I'm very close to a neighbor. That's just one of the many things I'll have to comply with if I lift or if I'm 51%. At that point I'd be better off starting over from an empty lot. I could go after my ins. for more money but it might put me over 51%. But that might not be a problem if the town doesn't know. Hence, Who says I'm at 51% and how do they find out? I'd hate to let my ins. off the hook but I don't want to get greedy and have the town come back and bite me.
Karen M February 12, 2013 at 10:17 PM
@jerseyswamps, you and i are kind of in the same boat. My house is paid off, the only difference is, I have well over 51% damage. My assessment was $124,999 and my POL is $82,000. I was thinking the same thing as you, not to raise, but the problem being, if I ever try to sell my home in the future, the new buyers probably won't be able to obtain a loan and a CO, so either way I'm screwed. Unless you plan on keeping the house in your family forever, then yes, you technically don't have to raise, but if you retain flood, you will probably be paying close to $8,000 a year within the next 3 years. I'm going to apply for the ICC because even if I don't decide to raise my home, it won't matter because I already asked the insurance company about it. They told me that even if I apply, I don't have to go through with it. I'm also guessing that in 3 years, the cost may come down on these home raising companies because clearly, there is price gouging going on.
Karen M February 12, 2013 at 10:23 PM
You can fight it with the town engineer, bring your elevation certificate to them as proof and fight it out. Because, technically you can't appeal with a LOMA (Letter of Map Amendment) because we are still technically following the other maps until these are made preliminary and then finalized. So much red tape BS. But thats what I'm doing because i have the same problem. Last lagoon in the V zone and AE is in back of me, so yes I will fight it. They will get sick of seeing my face. I was told by FEMA MAPS that the town has the final say on the zone. They can change your zone because they have jurisdiction over their own town.
Karen M February 12, 2013 at 10:36 PM
I used a local company from LBI not LBI HOUSERAISING, someone else and my estimate was $73,480 and that didn't include engineering, permits, fill, stuff that had to be removed below crawlspace, any issues encountered re-attaching house and so on, so we figured add another $25,000 in added extra's. Also, I have a sunroom and a fireplace, the sunroom was an additional $8,000 to raise and the fireplace was also more money. This is for pilings. Pilings are almost twice as much as a block foundation.Unfortunately, if you're on a lagoon, you must do pilings. However, I was told, that if I can get my zone changed to an AE, then I may be able to do columns, which is less costlier. I'm also going to have a soil bore test done just to see the condition of my soil to make sure that the foundation isn't sinking, because thats what they're concerned with. Look in PA, there are some there, I also called a few from Florida and Virginia. Just make sure they are liicensed in the state of NJ because its required by law. Make sure the also have liability and workmans comp ins. because of someone gets hurt on your property and they don't have ins, they can sue you. I would probably wait until these maps are adopted before jumping the gun, because they could change, and then what?
Karen M February 12, 2013 at 10:39 PM
If you applied for an SBA loan you were turned down because your home is not a rental property, thats what the Fema guy from Home Depot told me.
Karen M February 12, 2013 at 11:34 PM
My residence is a secondary home yet I could apply for the SBA loan because as luck would have it, we rented our house in September. Thats what they fail to tell people. The SBA only works if you own a secondary home thats rented, if not SOL. Isn't the government so wonderful. I will however not take it. I don't want to be indebited to the government at all. I wish Christie would have mentioned these maps sooner because I would have taken the insurance money, sold my house "as is" and bought a nice condo in Florida for cash. I wouldn't have these freakin headaches now, combined with my taxes and the rest of the BS, not much more i can take. I am going to the Stafford twp Council meeting on the 19th to voice my displeasure with everything. I've had it.
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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