The Christie administration has taken another step toward supporting new statewide elevation standards based on Federal Emergency Management Agency flood maps.
On Monday, the administration filed with the Office of Administrative Law an adoption package supporting the standards. The action comes nearly a week after Christie predicted FEMA will scale back tough new flood maps it issued last December.
Those maps place a large amount of properties in flood zones, and require many structures to be elevated if their owners don't want to see flood insurance rates spike.
The initial FEMA flood which could create thousands more in insurance premiums and have residents raising their houses feet off the ground, are "too aggressive," said Gov. Christie at a Thursday town hall meeting in Manasquan.
The Christie's action on Monday provides clear direction for residents as they rebuild from the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection.
Those maps, updated in New Jersey’s coastal counties for the first time in more than two decades, are based on the best available data to best protect lives and property from the most severe storm surges, according to a DEP release.
The elevations are on average 2 to 4 feet higher than standards that had been in effect under the significantly outdated FEMA flood maps.
DEP Commissioner Bob Martin stressed that setting new elevation standards now will protect property and lives in future storms and help residents avoid the shock of significant flood insurance premiums when FEMA formally adopts new federal guidance for flood insurance.
“We must never allow ourselves to forget the scope of destruction from Sandy,” Commissioner Martin said. “It is absolutely critical that we rebuild stronger and more resilient in the aftermath of this historic storm.
Last week, Christie addressed a packed crowd of officials and residents in the Hurricane Sandy damaged town of Manasquan, and returned to the complicated and controversial topic of what would happen with flood maps and how to rebuild the Jersey Shore.
"This initial map has been too aggressive," said Christie, referring to areas of land and the suggested heights property in those zones would be raised.
Christie's town hall event filled Manasquan High School, as the governor pushed for the adoption of "fair" base flood elevation maps in place of those adopted this winter.
As many towns and freeholders contest FEMA's current the governor opened the town hall with comments on the push to create a safer New Jersey, one where waterfront communities wouldn't face catastrophic damage like that seen after Hurricane Sandy.
"We'll have a continued fight to get the fairest flood maps in place," Christie said.