The Federal Emergency Management Agency has issued new proposed flood maps and new proposed building elevation requirements that will determine the cost of flood insurance on our homes, depending on what zone your home is in on the new maps. But it must be noted that FEMA did not adopt these new rules and maps yet.

Many people are screaming bloody murder because FEMA is proposing that their home is in, for example, the "V" zone and subject to new impossible-to-follow proposed regulations. These folks are saying that their home simply should not be in the "V" zone but don't know how to go about asserting their claims.

So the shore towns and the counties have a bunch of blood-thirsty homeowners who think they are going to be screwed by inapplicable federal regulations that will raise the cost of flood insurance to levels that simply are nothing but indirect condemnation of their homes.

It is imperative that we all find out when the FEMA rulemaking hearings are held, and that we all present engineering and technical proof that the FEMA zones do not apply here or there or on this street or that street.

Screaming and yelling will not help. Getting organized to challenge the proposed FEMA regs during the adoption process will help.

In the Florida Keys, Monroe County has been in court for years fighting FEMA regulations that basically condemned certain properties, making them totally uninsurable. Mortgage companies require flood insurance, and only FEMA can issue it, so therefore, only cash buyers and builders can build on those properties.

New Jersey counties and cities can look to Monroe County for lawyers and experts who will share with us just how difficult FEMA can be.

We need to provide expert testimony during the upcoming hearings that will show FEMA's maps are wrong in some cases. With the testimony on the record, we can appeal any final FEMA rule with greater certainty that it can someday be overturned.

Let us ask our state, county and municipal officials for help in providing that critical testimony during those hearings, so we have a chance to challenge the rules.

The fact that Gov. Chris Christie has adopted these proposed rules now changes nothing as far as the need to give expert testimony.



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