Flood Maps Adopted for Sandy Rebuild [POLL/VIDEO]
New flood maps released by the Federal Emergency Management Agency last month have been adopted by the Christie Administration to jumpstart the Sandy rebuild. Governor Chris Christie said the revised guidelines will result in less risk for residents and lower costs in the long run.
The advisory maps put some areas at a greater risk of flooding compared to past guidelines, meaning many homes and businesses will be reconstructed at a higher elevation. Adhering to the reconstruction standards would be a costly task, but the Governor said those costs would eventually be recouped through lower insurance premiums.
The move has introduced a tough choice to many Jersey homeowners and businesses - obey the new standards by paying more to rebuild and less for flood insurance, or stick to the old maps and deal with much higher insurance costs in the near future.
An example provided by FEMA:
If a property owner is currently in an “A zone” at 4 feet below the recommended elevation and are reclassified as a higher threat “V zone” and take no action, that property will be rated at a higher risk and be subject to an approximate annual premium (phased in) of up to $31,000.
In contrast, if the owner were to rebuild to the suggested recommendations and appropriate construction standards, the annual premium (phased in) would be approximately $7,000. If the resident rebuilds 2 feet above the recommendations the annual premium would be approximately $3,500, a savings of up to $27,500 annually.
FEMA may not make the updated standards official for another two years, and changes could be made before then, but Christie said waiting 18 to 24 months is not an option for New Jersey.
"This is, I think, what we need to do to build a 21st century Jersey shore," said the Governor at the Seaside Heights Fire Department headquarters. "Costs of not building to the safer standards are serious, both in terms of financial costs and the safety of our residents."
The Governor said most of the buildings and homes destroyed by Sandy were built to antiquated codes and standards.
Superstorm Sandy caused $37 billion worth of damage across the state. An estimated 41,000 New Jersey families remain homeless.