STAFFORD TOWNSHIP — Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the first reading of an ordinance in a move to adopt the newest advisory base flood-elevation maps made public Monday by FEMA.
Mayor John Spodofora said the township has become one of the first municipalities in the state to move to adopt the Federal Emergency Management Agency maps.
“The reason for us trying to get this adopted tonight is to expedite getting people the ability to rebuild as soon as possible,” Spodofora said.
The previous version of the maps that were introduced in December included most of the Beach Haven West section of the township in a V zone following Hurricane Sandy.
“I am very satisfied with what we’ve been able to accomplish so far. It’s been a very contentious process dealing with FEMA,” Spodofora said of the recent revisions.
The majority of the V zones in the township are gone under the new maps, except for a small area near the East Point section and some homes on the bayfront, Spodofora said.
“It’s a great improvement and they finally make some sense,” he said, adding he doesn’t expect and future changes that will make things worse.
“It can only get better from this point forward,” Spodofora said.
The township collected data over the last six months to fight the maps FEMA released in December, but challenges will still be made to the newest maps where portions of the township are still included in a V zone, officials said Tuesday evening.
The township already has submitted an appeal to FEMA for an amendment to the maps released this week, addressing properties still included in the V zone, Spodofora said.
Before Hurricane Sandy, the homes located in V zones in the Beach Haven West section were on the waterfront, and after the storm a significant number of properties were added to the V zones, Moran said.
Jeff Henion expressed his concern to Spodofora and council Tuesday evening about what will happen to his property value if the area remains included in a V zone.
“You won the battle in the back, but we have doubled the amount in our area in the V zone. The cluster of homes in Stafford Township still included in the V zone supersedes any areas north of Atlantic City,” said Henion, who lives on Mill Creek Road in the Beach Haven West section.
Before the newest maps were released Monday, 38,012 acres in the township were included in the V zone, and afterward there are 20,808 acres, Spodofora said.
“Being in a V zone of course will hurt your property value. I’m not going to lie to you. The only thing I can tell you is that I am confident we have a right to challenge these maps again,” Spodofora told Henion.
Following the October storm, the township lost $200 million of its ratable base, said Spodofora. More than 4,000 homes in the township sustained significant damage during Hurricane Sandy, officials have said.
“Our objective is to get all of Stafford Township out of the V zones and into A zones,” Spodofora said.
The council will hold a second reading of the ordinance on July 9 when a public hearing will be held before the council makes the move to adopt the maps.
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