City to Require New, Rebuilt Homes in Flood Zone to be 2 Feet Higher

Council passes flood prevention ordinance

Homes or businesses built or rebuilt in the city's flood zone will now be required to be 2 feet higher than the base flood elevation.

The Long Branch Council made the requirement official by unanimously passing its revised flood prevention ordinance during Tuesday night's meeting.

"Where trying to make things as easy as possible for people," Long Branch Mayor Adam Schneider told residents who had questions about the ordinance. "If we don't require this, the flood insurance will be so catastrophically expensive, nobody will be able to afford it."

Long Branch Code Enforcement Officer Kevin Hayes has said it would cost a homeowner whose home is 4 feet below the base flood elevation $9,500 per year for flood insurance after new costs come out this year. A homeowner whose house is at base flood elevation would have to pay $1,410 a year for flood insurance and a person whose home is 3 feet above the flood plain would pay $427 per year.

"The higher up you go, the lesser the insurance," Schneider said.

Hayes said another part of the ordinance states that homes rebuilt or built in the flood zone must have their utilities raised if they are located in a basement or crawlspace.

Another resident whose home was flooded said raising his home could possibly put it over the 30-foot height requirement mandated by the city.

Hayes said that is something the city may look into changing in the future.

"We're working on something that may possibly allow residents in that situation to build to 33 feet," Hayes said.

"We're trying to figure out if we have to change other ordinances to make things easier for (residents)," Schneider added."

Another reason for passing the ordinance, is that the city needs to review and adopt FEMA's recently released Advisory Base Flood Elevation (ABFE) maps and incorporate them into the ordinance to get mitigation funds from FEMA.

Hayes said when it comes to raising your house to the new flood elevation levels, homeowners with flood insurance can apply for Increased Cost of Compliance funding, which can provide up to $30,000. Homeowners who suffered flooding from Sandy and don’t have flood insurance aren’t eligible.

Long Branch Construction Official Stan Midose has said homes that were "substantially damaged" by Hurricane Sandy must be raised two feet above the base flood elevation, according to the revised ordinance.

"If your house is damaged to the point where to repair it back to it's pre-storm condition exceeds 50 percent of the market value of the structure, you're substantially damaged," Midose said.

Midose said a resident could also demolish their home and rebuild it to make it comply with the ordinance.

He said he has looked at several homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy and said nine are considered substantially damaged.

"Basically, the building is a shell that needs to be rebuilt," he said.

Big Whitey January 24, 2013 at 01:48 PM
I tell you Christopher I am scared to death of the cost of this insurance. I can survive any storm, I spent 3 weeks cleaning up my house. But I am scared to death of what this bill for insurance is gonna cost. And you know there are no payments, it is all due at one time. I told my insurance guy, if I waive my payment, can I cancel my insurance. They said no. When the Govt tells me I have to buy something, I get so nervous.Like property taxes. This may be what it takes to give my house back to the bank and give up.
Susan Cain January 24, 2013 at 02:33 PM
Big Whitey, I spent over 23,000 to get my house cleaned after the storm. the insurance would only cover 9800 of it. I was able to pay in installments and to date, Jaan 23, have not received insurance yet. I did get my new insurance bill though.
mamaski03 January 24, 2013 at 06:44 PM
If this is required by the city, then why isn't the city paying for us to do this. They are passing this as a code requirement and then telling us we have to come up with approximately $60, 000.00 for total cost. This would intail not only raising your foundation, but also moving electrical system and anything else that would be in the basements to include filling in the basement with cement.
Susan Cain January 25, 2013 at 12:50 PM
Thank you Christopher. I did call the building department and ask that the inspector come and give me a suggestion. They would not make an appointment because my house did not sustain 50% of its value in damages.
Susan Cain January 25, 2013 at 12:53 PM
I believe that the city can apply for an ICC grant through FEMA if your home qualifies to be raised. I thing it is $30,000. I can't get anyone from the building department to come because I didn't have 50% of the value of the house in damages. I am worried about the foundation as the house was built in 1905 and had $77,000 in damages.


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