Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Flood Zone Changes Hit Morris Homeowners

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Flood Zone Changes Hit Morris Homeowners

Article excerpt

Changes are coming to Morris County's flood maps, and with them, affected residents can expect adjustments to their flood insurance and home values.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is holding two open-house events this week in the county, giving residents the chance to sit with FEMA mapping specialists for one-on-one conversations on how their properties could be affected by the changes to the Flood Insurance Rate Maps. The meetings will be held Wednesday in Parsippany and Thursday in Lincoln Park.

"Homeowners are going to be living with these designations for a long time, so this is an incredible window of opportunity for residents to take steps to correct or learn more," Morris County Flood Mitigation Program Coordinator Jennifer McCulloch said. "If a resident disagrees with their designation, the next step is to contact their municipal engineer."

McCulloch said changes in the flood maps are due to several factors, including shifting rivers, changing soil and new technology that further developed the grid, like Light Detection and Ranging, which uses light pulses to map topography of an area.

Residents of those towns specifically should plan to attend one of the open houses to see how the new map affects their property.

"Any resident that currently has flood insurance or lives close to a water body should be coming to these meetings," McCulloch said. "If a resident is curious whether they could be affected, they can also contact their municipal administrator or engineer."

The FEMA-hosted open houses are done in coordination with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and seek to inform residents about their specific flood risks shown on the county's new preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps. The meetings will allow residents to learn about potential changes to their flood insurance rates or requirements, as well as how to prepare for future floods.

Some of the changes place Morris County properties in Special Flood Hazard Areas for the first time, high-risk flood zones that will require the homeowners to purchase flood insurance. Understanding the updated flood risks will allow the property owners to better use tools available to them. …

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