Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Building Post-Sandy

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Building Post-Sandy

Article excerpt

FLOOD waters from Sandy's wrath may have been still receding in spots when Governor Christie said his goal was to have the Jersey Shore open for business by Memorial Day weekend.

The feasibility of that remains to be seen, but action the governor took last week will help accelerate the rebuilding process throughout the state. But for some, the rebuilding rules may come with a heavy price -- as much as $31,000 a year for federal flood insurance.

The governor approved emergency state regulations that will use preliminary Federal Emergency Management Agency maps as a guide to how rebuilding will take place. Property owners in the most flood- prone regions will face the heaviest burden in terms of rebuilding, which is understandable.

We are most encouraged by the governor's willingness to act now. He could have withheld releasing state regulations until final FEMA maps are complete, but that could take up to two years. Delaying rebuilding regulations for that long would have left property owners in limbo. As the governor noted in making his announcement in heavily-damaged Seaside Heights, property owners now have a framework to move forward.

The state's just-announced regulations give no leeway to owners whose buildings sustained damage to at least 51 percent of the structure. They will not get building permits unless they agree to rebuild to new flood elevation standards set by FEMA. The new standards in some areas set flood levels up to 4 feet higher than they are now. So, property owners whose buildings were substantially damaged by Sandy must raise their homes considerably if they choose to rebuild.

Owners of properties less severely damaged have a choice, but it's not really a good one. …

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