Brigantine property owners have until the end of the month to apply for funds to help raise their homes in advance of new flood zones being implemented — but the funds aren’t guaranteed.
The city is applying to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for its share of mitigation funds — funds distributed to municipalities through the state and county that can be used for various purposes. Brigantine City Manager Jennifer Blumenthal said that if awarded, the city would use such funds on a pump station, floodgates and property acquisition, and Atlantic County would use them to shore up the damaged seawall.
In addition, property owners could apply for funds to help elevate their homes. Owners must send a written letter of interest by Monday, Jan. 28, and include their address, block and lot number and contact information.
Any such requests must be approved and prioritized by the county, state and FEMA, Blumenthal said, and all requests may not be approved. As an example, Blumenthal said, the Morris County town of Parsippany saw less than half of its house-elevating requests approved.
These funds would be separate and different from FEMA’s Increased Cost of Compliance Coverage, in which flood insurance policyholders in high-risk areas could get up to $30,000 to go toward the cost of raising a home to come within compliance.
The city still plans to oppose the proposed new FEMA flood zone maps, which would place a large section of the northern part of the city in a new “velocity” zone that would require higher base elevations along with pilings to allow waves to pass underneath homes. Base elevations would increase in other areas on the island, also.
“It’s a hard decision for anybody, and it’s hard for us to advise anybody what to do,” Blumenthal said. “We do know that FEMA is standing by the maps. There’s no precedence for anyone fighting the maps and them coming out significantly different.”
Still, she said, “we plan to express our opinion on the maps during the federal government’s process.”
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