Map | FEMA Scales Back Flood Zones After Controversy

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has shrunk the area along the New Jersey shore that it considers vulnerable to high wave action during hurricanes and other storms.

The agency released advisory maps in December that vastly expanded the so-called V-zones, where waves could cause severe damage to property. Many homeowners and elected officials objected, because those areas carry much higher reconstruction costs and higher flood insurance rates.

In new maps,  officially out today, much less of the coast is considered in the highest risk category.  The maps, however, don't account for sea level rise.

In Brick township, for example, Mayor Steve Acropolis said about 2,500 homeowners will not have to rebuild their homes on pilings, after initially being told that they would.

 "This gives them an opportunity to say, okay, I don't have to demolish my home, I don't have to do some things I really didn't want to do. Now I can elevate it, put a block foundation underneath, and then just drop it back down on the blocks."

New Jersey town officials are expecting the new maps to kick-start rebuilding after months of waiting for clarity on rebuilding rules. Tom's River Mayor Tom Kelaher said he is beefing up his town's permitting staff and has lined up an engineering firm to answer questions from residents. "What we're anticipating is a rush for building permits, because people say we've waited. There's the new maps. We're certainly telling people, okay, now you can rely on them."  

Revised maps for New York City were released last week and also show smaller V-zones. FEMA officials said at the time that  the revised maps reflect more exact predictions and were not a result of political pressure.

The final flood insurance maps are not expected to be ready until the end of next year.



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Comments [6]

S. Kennedy

Is the Bay Ridge Section of Brooklyn in A or B zone. I am opposite Owl's Head Park formally called Bliss Park. We were not flooded by Sandy.
The 69th Street pier was completely under water, however.

Jun. 20 2013 04:33 PM
Ron from Long Beach Island, NJ

I had a vacation home on Long Beach Island, New Jersey. It was fairly new and elevated on pilings over eight feet off ground level. As was required by the Bank holding the mortgage, I had flood insurance. Then Sandy hit. 1) FEMA does NOT cover second homes. 2) My flood insurance policy (and I suspect many others), does NOT cover much below the "living" space. None of my belongings that were stored in the garage were covered, nor were any repairs to the garage door. What a SCAM!

Jun. 19 2013 06:06 PM
Lynn from Long Island

I really agree with Joe from New York City. It would be really nice to have a map which includes Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties in toto.

Jun. 19 2013 09:57 AM
Kelly from Bloomfield, NJ

My grandmother lives in Moonachie, NJ (07074). In case people forgot, there was 5+feet of water that went through the town from the Hackensack river. They are below sea level. When my mom was growing up there, there were marshes. How is it not in a flood zone?

Forget the insurance rates, let's talk about safety.

Jun. 19 2013 12:50 AM
Keira from Wishbone, NJ

Recently seen NJ highway sign:

Welcome to New Jersey
The Denial State Parkway
Governor Chris Christie

Jun. 17 2013 04:55 PM
Joe from New York City

While the graphic itself is amazing, it's a bit misleading that you do not clearly indicate that you're missing data on several counties - it took a bit of clicking to figure out, and most users are just going to assumed they are no longer at risk. Please consider strongly making note of the lack of data more prominently.

Jun. 17 2013 01:49 PM

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