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.