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To Raise or Not to Raise, That Is The Question in Stafford Township

Proposed ordinance on flood maps raising questions and worries.

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

Website @http://twp.stafford.nj.us/

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

John Eric Mangino January 14, 2013 at 10:34 AM
At the last Town Hall meeting This is the Number the Town Council offered . Its public record . 4000.00 homes effected I see my reply says 4000 claims, That was a mistake on my part . But the 4000 homes effected number is what Stafford officials offered at the meeting. Thank you
John Eric Mangino January 14, 2013 at 02:50 PM
Well were do we get the information from Fema doesn't have it or give it out readily Alot people havent even signed up for Fema they dont thing they Qualify . The Fact is people need to get involved for change and for clear Information Sending a some seniors to the Fema website is like asking them to rewrite the constitution its so confusing and really doesn't address the current Mitigations, I wrote the Mayor before that meeting and I advised him he should have a Clear detailed form or checklist to hand out to the people attending . I warned of the swell of unsatisfied people in BHW areas the non answers there getting . I alos started a Questionnaire at the bequest of several people attending that meeting . In my other Blog post . This is being talked about every street corner market Gym hair salon etc. Its a anonymous Poll of sorts to see exactly where we stand .And I will be handing it directly to The Governor on Wednesday if I an enough people to fill it out . https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dHZ2dThXTTNZd2FTby1YM1h5NFBuTGc6MQ
M Myers January 15, 2013 at 03:20 PM
Thank you for the information on the town hall meeting.
Pete Dertouzos January 21, 2013 at 07:44 PM
What about those of us who did not get any water in our homes yet our flood elevation is being raised? I am on higher ground than my neighbors and go no water. Now FEMA re-writes the flood maps and I am 1ft below flood when I used to be 1ft above. Note, no water in my house. BUT, now my house is worth less becasue I am below the flood line? And FEMA will not grant me $30K becasue I did not have 51% damage? Not fair I say. If FEMA is doing their thing, and Stafford is making these blanket rules, then Grant money should be offered to everyone to riase there house if they are now below flood line.
Pete Dertouzos January 23, 2013 at 06:51 PM
Politics aside, I feel people like me should be considered in decisions that are made. In 2010 I bought my house which stood 1 ft above flood. I took out all required township permits and renovated the house to current building codes. Now, if the new flood lines are enacted, my house sits 1 ft below flood. I do not qualify for ICC because I did not have 51% damage yet, if I tried to sell my house today, I would take a significant hit because I am now below flood level. Frankly, people in my situation should be entitled to the same $30K that others get.

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