Last night's Stafford Township Council meeting tried to clear some of the muddy waters surrounding the new FEMA advisory base flood elevation maps.
There are an estimated 4,000 homes in the Beach Haven West area alone that sustained serious damage during Sandy, many qualifying for raising.
According to information at the Council Meeting:
Stafford Township will be introducing the revised flood maps, and possibly adopting an ordinance within three weeks, according to Mayor John Spodofora.
When the cost to repair or alter the home is more than 50% of the market value of the structure (not including the land value) the building can be altered or repaired only if the structure is modified to meet the floodplain requirements in accordance with the flood elevation maps – this typically means that the building would have to be elevated using an approved engineered plan.
Some do not have to raise their homes. There is no mandatory order to raise homes.
Houses that have to raised include: Any home that has been substantially damaged or that is off its foundation; any home that has been determined uninhabitable or that poses a clear danger of flooding again. These homes - if rebuilt - must be brought to all current flood map elevations, which will be adopted with in the next three weeks.
That said, if you don't raise your home, there likely will be a substantial raise in your flood insurance premiums. Also if you don't raise your home, you will most likely have a very hard time selling your home, since buyers will not be able to get a mortgage for the home.
If you want to raise your home, Stafford, like many communities in Ocean County participate in the National Flood Insurance Program, which goes through the community rating system. That means homeowners receive a 15 percent reduction on their flood insurance and are eligible for the Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) rider grant of $30,000 if their homes need to be raised.
How do I get ICC grant to raise or comply? First, you need an estimate of damage from your insurance company or a licenced adjuster or a licensed building contractor. This is what determines the 50% damage.
To obtain the ICC, you will need:
a. your lot and block number;
b. your estimate from the insurance adjuster or contractor of the structures damage;
c. current flood insurance in place;
d. a letter from Stafford Township's Building Department that states you have the required 51% damage, or what is being called a 'substantial damage letter;'
e. An engineered drawing from a draftsman, also a survey of your property.
g. Permits to raise the house.
Remember FEMA pays to raise to the required adopted heights - it will not pay extra height. A hugely overlooked problem when raising homes is setbacks and where you will put your stairs. Consult the setbacks on your lot with the township building department.
In the end, it is up to you to raise a home. You will likely incur huge insurance premiums if you don't - or you can choose not to have flood insurance. That is at your discretion.
Video of Jan. 8 2013 township meeting Video click here
The Stafford Building Department is ready and willing to help with all questions.
They can be found at:
Stafford Township Town Hall
260 Bay Avenue
Manahawkin, NJ 08050
Phone Number: (609) 597-1000 - FAX (609) 597-4911