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Sen. Whelan Asks Gov. Christie to Reconsider FEMA Maps

Christie announced the maps would be adopted to help business owners and residents rebuild.

Sen. Jim Whelan has asked Gov. Chris Christie to reconsider adoption of building codes based on preliminary Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) maps in a letter dated Jan. 28, 2013.

Christie announced on Jan. 24 the state would adopt FEMA’s Advisory Base Flood Elevation maps in an effort to make it possible for residents and business owners to build along the Jersey Shore. The and recommend that residents in flood zones in 10 counties and 194 communities raise their homes on average between 1 and 5 feet.

The adoption covers only shore towns, while the rest of the state remains under guidelines established in 1980.

FEMA is expected to adopt the advisory maps within the next 18-24 months, and Christie says that adopting the maps at the state level will alleviate some of the pressure on municipalities to understand the maps and their impacts.

However, it is because these maps are still at the advisory level, and have not officially been adopted, that Whelan has asked Christie to reconsider their adoption at this time. He said mayors and other officials of shore towns are concerned with the issue.

“For example, the proposed maps do not include factors such as dunes and bulkheads, which, if included, could change building standards significantly,” Whelan wrote in his letter. “The impact of adopting these most stringent standards will be devastating for many home- owners who will not be able to afford putting their house on pilings or the astronomical flood insurance increases.”

He went on to say that local officials have told him their constituents are saying they either won’t return to their homes or will go without pilings or flood insurance if the standards are adopted.

“In either case, it depresses the property value, raising the taxes of others in the community, potentially creating a downward spiral of more abandonment and ever higher taxes,” Whelan said. “With few likely buyers, the State will have to help, including figuring out how to assess property when there are no comparable sales.”

Whelan requested a meeting with Christie and legislators, including Second District Assemblymen John Amodeo and Chris Brown, to discuss the issue.

“While I recognize the intent of your executive order, perhaps a revision to have it cover those situations where property is being entirely rebuilt, and wait until the FEMA maps are finalized for other property owners, like me, whose homes are still standing, would be more appropriate,” Whelan said.

The full text of Whelan’s letter can be found below:

January 28, 2013

 

Governor Chris Christie

State of New Jersey

P.O. Box 001

Trenton, NJ 08625

 

Dear Governor Christie,

 

         I am respectfully requesting that you reconsider your executive order regarding the adoption of the building codes based on the preliminary FEMA maps, inasmuch as these maps are advisory and are not yet finalized, subject to revision. For example, the proposed maps do not include factors such as dunes and bulkheads, which, if included, could change building standards significantly.

 

         The impact of adopting these most stringent standards will be devastating for many home- owners who will not be able to afford putting their house on pilings or the astronomical flood insurance increases.

 

         The impact will not stop there. I have already heard from local officials, as I am sure you have, that folks will either walk away or go bare, i.e. no pilings, no flood insurance. In either case, it depresses the property value, raising the taxes of others in the community, potentially creating a downward spiral of more abandonment and ever higher taxes. With few likely buyers, the State will have to help, including figuring out how to assess property when there are no comparable sales.

 

         While I recognize the intent of your executive order, perhaps a revision to have it cover those situations where property is being entirely rebuilt, and wait until the FEMA maps are finalized for other property owners, like me, whose homes are still standing, would be more appropriate.

 

         I would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you, along with other members of the Legislature, including my colleagues from the Second District, Assemblymen John Amodeo and Chris Brown, to discuss this issue. Mayors and other officials of shore towns are also extremely concerned about the impact of this executive order.

 

         Thank you for your consideration of this matter.

 

                                                            Sincerely,

 

                                                            Jim Whelan

 

 

Senator Jim Whelan

511 Tilton Rd,

Northfield, NJ 08225

609-383-1388

SenWhelan@njleg.org 

 

Jon Q. Public January 30, 2013 at 05:39 PM
Senator who??? Oh yeah, I know this guy. NOW he does something because it directly affects him. Hey do you remember you have constituents?
Randle McMurphy January 30, 2013 at 07:36 PM
At least hes trying to do something...Im sick and tired of people acting like a Sandy storm occurs on a yearly basis . IT WAS A FREAK storm. Probably a 500 year storm and now where geting hosed by our govenment. The storm happened, pay my claim and let me go back to living the way I was before . Like most of you NO storm has done damage to my house. Look at Bound Brook, Wayne ect are those homes on stilts, break away bottoms? no and they have been flooding out every summer since the begining of time. The Shore gets hit and we are getting forced into a $100,000 lift that most of us dont need. And yes it close to $100.000 to lift a house not the BS $30,000 people are being told. If something isnt done to stop this robbery the Jersey Shore community is doomed. Say good bye to friends and neighbors you have know for years, they wont be able to afford to live here anymore.
bernie January 30, 2013 at 08:04 PM
The Zones definately needed to be updated as they havent been done in decades. I've got no problem with raising the home a few feet. However my neighborhood is 5 blocks in from the bay and should absolutely NOT be in a V (velocity) Zone as there is noway we're subject to 3ft or higher waves. Kudos to you senator and we are behind you 1000%
bernie January 30, 2013 at 08:05 PM
the dunes are the issue ! if the ocean didnt breach the barrier island this event doesnt cause near the damage it did.
Mike January 30, 2013 at 08:51 PM
Hey I had significant damage to my home in Brick,NJ. That being said I received my check from my flood claim, I also am going to jump on the almost free money that the SBA is offering at 1.6%. Also receiving additional funds from ICC which is also a plus. The programs are out their to utilize people quit your crying because you want everything paid for and not have to lay out any money from your pocket. Please this is the price we all pay living by water, INCLUDING myself. Have the patience to sit down with the right people to receive the funds your entitled to and once again quit crying and move on to the next chapter in your new life. A lot of people will be angry at what I posted, but frankly I have moved on from being angry and jumped on the next chapter in my life with my new home. You can to. :)
Elayna C January 30, 2013 at 09:12 PM
How nice for you Mike. I also received my check from flood. It was about half of what it will take to repair my home. Still waiting on the homeowners, but was told that won't even ben enough to cover my roof repairs. As for the SBA loan, since I have a job and good credit, it is 5.6%, which is higher than my mortgage. Also my house is made of cinder block, so it cannot be raised. Now I can knock it all down and rebuild, but what will that cost? Or I can pay 20-30K in flood insurance for the rest of my life, right? So the next chapter of my life, will be to ..what? Let the bank foreclose on my home and garnish my paycheck forever? Nice chapter. Oh and your loan isnt FREE MONEY, no matter what the interest rate is. You do have to pay it back. So if you borrowed 100K to fix your home, that is 100K that YOU had to pay. So nice you can do that. Not everyone can. As for wanting everything paid by someone else and not laying out any money of our own, we HAVE been paying our own way. If we had flood, we already paid exhorbitant prices for living near the water. In many cases, like mine, we have paid out MORE than we received back. ICC funds? Only if your home was more than 51% damaged, and then, only 30K right? You can raise your home with that? So seriously, Mike, be more considerate next time and possibly think before you type.
bernie January 30, 2013 at 09:52 PM
Mike i dont recall reading anyone looking for free money. I've lived here for 45 years, paid insurance both flood and home owners for 45 years, total claims in that time under $5000.00. Mike what zone were you in before the storm and what zone are you in now ? I'm now being rezoned from an AE to a V zone which states im subject to 3ft or greater waves BUT there are properties on the barrier island that are in a lower A zone NOT subject to 3ft or higher waves. My home is over 5 blocks from the open bay and there was NO wave action and quiet frankly if there is in the future most of brick will be flooded, not to mention if a 3ft or larger wave strikes my home, how big was that wave when if came over the barrier island ? Im going to guess larger than 3ft right ? Which means that A zone on the island is either improperly zoned or my property is...either way the maps need to be addressed in depth ! My SBA application was denied as were many many others i've spoken to. Take me from a V to an A which will allow me to raise my home using a block foundation versus the elevated costs of lifting, moving and raising my home on pilings. V Zone means velocity zone...the flood vents on my foundation didnt even open thats how still the water rose with no velocity at all. As far as loans and debt there are many elderly folks in my neighborhood on fixed incomes that cant afford another bill, let alone higher ins or a loss in there property value. GOOD LUCK TO YOU MIKE
re-tired January 31, 2013 at 12:37 AM
I don`t know sen. whelan, but I hope he runs for governor. At least he is aware of the matter of straight out accepting the flawed FEMA maps. Christie is not even talking about the situation that all the mainland bayfront is facing an ignoring the mayors .The economy of the whole region is at stake !
Floodgate January 31, 2013 at 01:27 AM
Honestly , I think Mike was just trolling this forum, no one in their right mind is drinking the Fema Kool Aid..
bernie January 31, 2013 at 01:29 AM
You would be surprised
Sand Bagger January 31, 2013 at 03:17 AM
In Point Pleasant Beach and on the beach and had zero damage due to sandbagging my property and doing everything possible to save my house and it worked and now i have to pay 30,000 in flood insurance and raise a house - only one thing to say - Good Bye New Jersey - called realtor today and my exit time is near...
j massachusetts January 31, 2013 at 04:48 PM
can't help but be reminded of the katrina victims and the "disaster capitalists" who cash in on the suffering, the fact that lots of people suffered for a long time and got little help, there where lots more died and some were killed by government "assistance" police and military controls, many people left and still have not returned, some people are just beginning to return all these years later, and fema and fema contractors, insurance companies and government programs,....?....too much corruption is acceptable these days! no regulation and the government IS NOT SERVING THE POPULATION. too busy making money deals with banks and agencies. the horror stories are inexcusable and disgusting. and one reason people don't get help they need?... the media WILL NOT REPORT IT.... it's part of the scam, and this is neoliberal unregulated profit-first capitalism, elite greedy honeypot, u.s. (and world!) corruption cancer, post 911.
Mary Ann January 31, 2013 at 09:58 PM
Thank you, Sen. Whelan for reaching out to Gov. Christie. Hopefully this disasterous issue will be looked at soon by both the Governor and FEMA. We are living on our second floor still 3-months later and waiting for this mess to play out, so we can make a decision to rebuild or move. Unfortunately, there is no feasible way to raise our old house up on pilings to comply with a V-zone. We are back-bay and do not suffer wave damage here and the expense will far outweigh the value. The insurance cost will be unaffordable if we don't raise it. We face either tearing it down to rebuild if we can find financing or selling the lot if our area of Pt. Pleasant stays V. All this to comply with a needlessly excessive flood zone designation?
KHill February 04, 2013 at 04:04 PM
If your house was rezoned you can apply for a LOMA letter from FEMA , Letter Of Map Amendment online at FEMA website
Gary February 04, 2013 at 04:59 PM
Aren't the LOMA or LOMR contingent upon a "satisfactory" base flood elevation?
Spooner February 04, 2013 at 05:06 PM
You can't do that until the maps are revised and become the new flood rate maps...probably in 2014 or later.

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