How High Is High Enough?

New FEMA advisory base flood elevations won't be released until next week

Residents whose homes will have to be raised to comply with new flood standards will have to wait until next week to find out how high they will have to go.

That's because the Federal Emergency Management Agency's new advisory base flood elevations won't be released until next week, after state officials have had a chance to review them, a National Flood Insurance Program representative said at the Dec. 11 Township Council meeting.

"I anticipate next week," said NFIP official Dawn Livingston. "I can't promise."

The advisory delays were frustrating to some residents at the meeting, including Township Council President James J. Byrnes, whose Glen Cove home was substantially damaged in the storm.

"When am I going to know how high to build my house?" Byrnes asked during the meeting.

The biggest impact will be on the people who need to rebuild because their homes were more than 50 percent damaged in the storm, she said.

The new advisory base flood elevations could rise from one to four feet higher than the current requirements, she said.

And some sections of Berkeley that are not currently in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) zone will be after the new elevation maps come out, Livingston said.

"It's definitely going to have an impact on people," she said.

A Berkeley Shores resident said his home was already above the required current flood elevation.

"If I'm about five or six feet above, does that mean I have to raise my house?" he said.

"You may not have to," Livingston replied. "It does not mean you have to raise your house, but it could impact your insurance costs. Everybody's rates are likely to go up."

Residents with federally-backed mortgages whose homes were substantially damaged will have to comply with the new advisories, she said.

Small Business Administration representative Mark Jamison urged residents with storm-damaged homes to apply for low-interest SBA loans, regardless of whether they had flood insurance or FEMA assistance.

"Our only mandate is to avoid a duplication of benefits," he said.

If the structure is more than 50 percent substantially damaged or repetitively damaged, the homeowner would be eligible for Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) coverage, which helps pay for the cost of complying with state or community floodplain management laws or ordinances from a flood event.

ICC coverage will help pay for the cost to elevate, flood-proof, demolish or relocate the building up to a maximum benefit of $30,000, according to the FEMA handbook "Answers to Questions About The NFIP."

Substantially damaged homes located in a flood zone must be retrofitted to meet current flood ordinances and construction codes, the township website states.

Remedies may include:

• Elevating the dwelling

• Raising the crawl space

• Eliminating basements

• Installation of flood vents

• Elevating mechanical devices like hot water heaters and furnaces

JOHNNY Done it December 14, 2012 at 03:27 AM
I dont get some of these houses are on pilings meaning the living space is above .Why do they finish the bottom off, add a room & all there utilities than expect nothing to happen . Maybe we should fix this problem..before we put a house on pilings so high it needs a beacon light for aircraft
foggyworld December 14, 2012 at 05:52 AM
I l ive in one of those houses and decided to use breakaway walls on that slab floor mainly because at the time of building, the houses on either side were one story and one was on ground level plus 2' pilings while the other was on 8' pilings. Our house on 10' pilings just towered over the other two so by using breakaway walls as you suggest we did have an enclosed garage and raw storage space. We also had a small utility room where all appliances are built in above ground level and the electric box is also raised up very high. But you can't simply enclose the space: you need water vents on the sides and the breakaway walls do make the exterior of the house look a bit more normal than sitting alone way up high on stilts. We wanted to try to fit into the neighborhood and so did enclose that area.
foggyworld December 14, 2012 at 06:13 AM
The use of that photo is not appropriate to say that it isn't high enough. The high water line made by the flood was 3' or less and the water was gone the following morning. The one thing we learned was that from how on ALL stuff kept in that area will have to be place on high very strong shelves or hooks because what we did lose were things on the floor. & they were not lost - just soaked in water & many were saved.. So the plywood shown we did have on hand and it was quickly thrown up to cover the spots where the walls did what they were supposed to - break away in that under-the-house area. So contrary to the initial reaction to that photo which implies the house is three stories, it is not. It was a two story house built to NC/Fla coastal building codes and worked on by the American Association of Architects. It did absolutely everything it was expected to do and we have lived here through it all and legally. So your premise was used and will continue to be though more things will be moved up into the house proper if they cant be placed on high enough, secure surfaces none of which will be attached to the wall that faces the water. So the thing to remember if you go that route is that that space is not a basement but can hold certain outdoor tools. Also with these storms there is very good warning & things will be more organized & put in bins if this ever happens again so that swift movement to the first floor of the house can be made easily.
foggyworld December 14, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Photo has been changed to that of a neighboring house which was on three foot pilings. The house was built in 1934 and obviously though having lived a long life wasn't built to today's standards which aren't very high anyway.
proud February 05, 2013 at 02:37 PM
This is a GREAT Facebook page. It's full of information and proves that the economic impact of the new FEMA regulations and the willingness of the once great State of New Jersey and the municipalities that don't don't fight for their constituencies will destroy the shore..The ramifications will affect all citizens, not just those directly affected: [Stop FEMA now | Facebook www.facebook.com/StopFemaNow facebook/StopFemaNow. Flood-elevation maps will destroy the Shore. www.app.com. Gov. Christie's adoption of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's ...]


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