Guide to Making the Call on Elevating Your Property In Berkeley Township

A post-Sandy Q&A session helped answer some (but not all) questions about what will be required of shore property owners.

Recent public forums have helped answer questions from South Seaside Park and Bayville property owners about repairing and rebuilding after Superstorm Sandy.

The question-and-answer sessions typically feature local residents, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) representatives and representatives of the local insurance and real estate industries.

Even the panelists usually acknowledged a fair amount of uncertainty about the full ramifications of the unprecedented level of damage for the region and the process for rebuilding and recovering costs.

Here's our best shot at summarizing the considerations for property owners as they rebuild after the Oct. 29 storm. But because of the considerable amount of confusion surrounding the whole process, feel free to share information, questions and observations in the comments section of this story.

  • Find the elevation of your home. Some Berkeley Township property owners may a flood elevation certificate if they have flood insurance. Check to make sure it's not expired.
  • Find the elevation required for your home under the new FEMA flood map.  Search for your Advisory Base Flood Elevation by address.
  • See how your advisory elevation compares to Hurricane Sandy flood levels. Make sure the flood elevation on your certificate uses the same NAVD 1988 scale as the ABFE maps (or see how the scales compare).
  • What if your home remains below the required elevation? One thing appears certain: Your flood insurance premium will increase (because federal taxpayers will no longer subsidize the flood insurance program).

The following are projected National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) annual flood insurance premiums for V Zone properties with $250,000 residential building coverage:

Lowest Floor Elevation No Contents Covered $100,000 Contents Covered 3 Feet Above $2,403 $2,923 2 Feet Above $3,278 $4,048 1 Feet Above $4,728 $5,918 At BFE $6,803 $8,603 1 Foot Below $9,003 $11,583 2 Feet Below $12,074 $15,764 3 Feet Below $15,524 $20,474 4 Feet Below $17,334 $23,304 6 Feet Below $23,449 $32,019

The following are projected annual flood insurance premiums for A Zone properties with $250,000 residential building coverage:

Lowest Floor Elevation No Contents Covered $100,000 Contents Covered 3 Feet Above $376 $561 2 Feet Above $448 $633 1 Feet Above $660 $845 At BFE $1,359 $1,724 1 Foot Below $4,527 $5,255 2 Feet Below $5,924 $8,308 3 Feet Below $7,204 $10,554 4 Feet Below $9,551 $14,370 6 Feet Below $18,830 $28,535
  • Consider the resale value of homes that remain below base flood elevation. Buyers would potentially assume dramatically higher flood insurance premiums or the cost of elevating homes.
  • What resources are available to elevate homes? Flood insurance policy holders should be able to take advantage of "Increased Cost of Compliance" (ICC) funding that can pay up to $30,000 to elevate homes. In a much longer process, property owners also can apply for hazard mitigation grants. Interested owners must contact the township's Office of Emergency Management, which will submit a letter to the county by Feb. 8. The county will apply to the state, which will apply to the federal government. Also: Low-interest loans (1.68 percent) of up to $200,000 (for homeowners) and $2 million (for businesses) are available through the Small Business Administration.
  • Will the Advisory Base Flood Elevation maps change? According to Gov. Chris Christie's Jan. 24 executive order, the advisory maps are adopted and nobody is "grandfathered" for the purposes of flood insurance or building codes. The final maps are expected to be complete by late summer and will likely include lower elevations and smaller "V Zones" as mitigating factors are taken into consideration. An appeals process will also be in effect when the final maps are released. Challenges from shore municipalities and from lawsuits are likely in the works.



angel January 29, 2013 at 11:07 PM
oh boy
TerriLynn January 30, 2013 at 02:15 AM
I was in a AE zone and now I'm in a V zone. We had our soil tested and it's basically crap, the soil tester guy said. Based on the type of soil we have, is the reason why and only reason why we have to raise our house on pilings. Otherwise, we could raise our house with the same as whats there now. We haven't been told of any other reason why we have to use pilings. As much research and as many people I have talked to, no one has said anything about raising it on pilings other than the soil tester guy.
George Kasimos January 30, 2013 at 06:28 PM
Dear Press, Public Officials and Flood Insurance Property Owners: What we want are our Politicians to change; 1) A thorough re-evaluation of the flood zones, in a timely fashion. 2) Evaluating if we raise the dunes a few feet if it will significantly reduce all our flood levels and insurance premiums. 3) Getting quick answers as to who gets the mitigation grants, when they get the grant and for how much. 4) Creative ways to lower our flood insurance premiums 5) Grace period of a few years before the rise in flood insurance premiums 6) FEMA to notify all homeowners of the impending new flood insurance rates and elevation requirements What we want from all Flood Insurance homeowners to do; 1) Copy and paste this email and send to your local, state, federal politicians and members of Press. 2) Form Coalition to protect our interests. 3) Spread the word to your neighbors George Kasimos www.facebook.com/StopFemaNow
foggyworld February 01, 2013 at 02:10 PM
Our house is now in a V zone and although we and a few others in our neighborhood are on 10' pilings and our homes stayed dry, we now are looking at being tarred with the V brush when it comes to insurance that frankly we can't afford. I wrote to Fema when I saw the map and they told me the town sent them all the data they used. I wrote to the town and received no answer. Well the town also has had flimsy building codes and no enforcement for decades and now will face a huge tax shortfall because we who were comparatively lucky, won't be sticking around. We spent all the money upfront to comply with coastal Florida and NC outer banks codes and yet it was for naught. Good luck to Bayville.
Barbara Weightman February 12, 2013 at 08:00 PM
Hi - Any idea where you would find out if you were an A or a V zone?


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