New flood maps
will be catastrophic
Conforming to new building codes and the Federal Emergency Management Agency's advisory base flood elevations in an effort to have affordable flood insurance coverage is not a practical option for many of us. The cost to homeowners and businesses of raising their properties is a significant expense and particularly devastating in this uneasy economic environment.
The financial ramifications will be especially difficult for seniors on fixed incomes and who have not calculated this significant increase into their cost of living.
Municipalities, which are already struggling with their budgets, will see their ratables decline as a result of widespread reassessments caused by the reduction in property values. Even if a property has no mortgage and is not required to carry flood insurance, the property value is still affected. When the home is sold, the potential buyers will be able to afford less home because of the amount of flood insurance required; thus a property's value will be lowered.
The bottom lines of all our coastal merchants and casinos will be adversely affected by the increase in flood-insurance premiums. This will cause an increase in consumer prices. If costs are absorbed by a business, the profit loss can potentially reduce the value of the business. In either case, the financial impact is negative. The smaller restaurants and retail stores that are so endearing to the character and enjoyment of our communities may be squeezed out of existence.
Many of our Margate homes that are now in the "V" zone, which has the highest risk for flooding, according to FEMA, had no damage whatsoever during Sandy. It's not fair for these property owners to incur such a significant increase in their flood-insurance premiums.
Before these new flood maps are adopted, we need to reach out to our legislators and urge them to make the maps less stringent and have them reflect the width of beaches and flood barriers, such as dunes and bulkheads.
I'm proud to say that our municipal team is part of a group of towns and officials who are meeting and being proactive regarding this issue, but everyone needs to be involved. If nothing is done to correct and revise the hazard areas, the consequences will be catastrophic to all communities up and down the coast in New Jersey.
that had no damage
Gov. Chris Christie's executive order adopting the new Federal Emergency Management Agency flood maps could have a devastating financial effect on properties in proximity to the bay and the ocean. Overall, the public accepts raising homes to higher elevations for new and substantially renovated or damaged homes. However, there is no provision for grandfathering existing buildings built in compliance with previous elevations.
The government should allow any existing house that was in compliance at the time it was constructed and did not suffer substantial damage to not be elevated. If there's no insurance claim, then there should be no increase in flood-insurance costs.
Clearly this will be a financial hardship for the middle class and those on fixed incomes, since there is not adequate funding to bring houses up to desired elevations. Why are people who didn't sustain damage being penalized?
Further, it is my understanding that we cannot have homes with masonry foundations in the "V" zones. The proposed rules suggest demolishing foundations and putting the homes on piling. This will not be possible for many homes with masonry foundations. These homes will have to be substantially modified or demolished. Demolition means loss of ratables, and that adversely affects all taxpayers.
Why not provide homeowners with the option of reducing flood-insurance premiums if they opt for higher deductibles? The current deductible is $1,000. Don't we give our citizens more options when they purchase homeowners insurance or car insurance?
Finally, if the grandfather provision is not implemented, then at least extend the period from four years to 10 years for FEMA elevation compliance. If there is such a need for urgency, why has it been 30 years since the last FEMA mapping?